I went to a really fun party on Tuesday. Tuesday was Epiphany [January 6]. That is the holiday that follows the 12th day of Christmas when the church has celebrated Jesus being revealed to the gentiles. It is the day we celebrate the visit of the Magi.
Our church will now enter the season of Epiphany, which will last until Lent. I like to think of it as a season of light. The light of Christ is revealed not just to the Jews but to the whole world. God’s call for his children to be a light to the nations becomes the focus of the new Christian faith.
My friend Lisa had a party on Tuesday where everyone could bring their Christmas tree and we put them in a big pile and lit them on fire. I’m not sure the tradition is very spiritual, but it was sure symbolic. We were a light to the neighborhood on a very dark night. And it was a beautiful reminder that our Christmas faith of God with us is not just for us, but for the world.
That is one of the things I love about driving around and seeing Christmas lights. They feel like some sort of proclamation that these dark nights we are having are not going to win out. That a light shines in the darkness and the darkness cannot overcome it.
And I love that you don’t really put up lights for yourself. I mean it is a pain. You have to go out in the cold [and usually wet], hang them up, spend time finding burned out bulbs and untangling. I think there must be something deep inside us that just wants to show the world that there is a light. That the darkness does not win.
I wonder if that was why the magi traveled so far to see the king that was born. They would not have had to do that. I’m sure it was a pain and it was also dangerous, as they had to go home a different way to avoid the violent king Herod. And yet they were drawn to worship Jesus.
That party too was kind of crazy [and not even remotely politically correct]. It also felt a little dangerous and risky—I mean that was a BIG fire we had going. But it was so fun to see those trees catch—the way our faith catches and leads us out to share our lights. When you have an epiphany you have to share it, I think. Even though it often feels risky and a little dangerous.
I hope you enjoy this Epiphany season of fire and light. This season where we hear stories of the faith spreading from a tiny little spark of a town [Bethlehem] to the whole world. I hope a spark will be lit in all of us.


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