A season of reflection and response to the revealed glory of Christ
Enter The Story
For hundreds of years, Christians have oriented themselves around the person of Jesus by organizing their years around what you could call “gospel seasons”. These seasons are designed as invitation into meaningful reflection and participation in specific portions of the gospel story.
The Christian New Year historically starts with Advent, which is a season of hopeful longing for the day when Christ will make all things new. This longing for the return of Christ is centered on the ways in which the first coming of Christ brings the promise full and total hope, love, joy, and peace to the world.
The season of Advent is followed by a short season of Christmastime which lasts 12 days. This season is a time of celebration and feasting that retells the story of the incarnation, when God took on a human body and dwelt among us. God saves the world by coming to live among us and living under our burdens and sorrows. Oh, what a glorious thing to remember that Christ has come!
What is Epiphany?
Christmastime leads into the season of Epiphany, which begins on January 6th, 2018. This is a season of reflection and response to the revealed glory of Christ. Our English word, “epiphany” derives from a Greek word which points to an act of revealing or appearing. For example, in 2 Timothy 1:9-10 (ESV), Paul writes about God’s grace,
“Which has now been manifested through the appearing (epiphany) of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.”
Why Does Epiphany Matter?
Christ’s first coming is a revelation of the glory of God unlike anything before in redemption history. It’s weighty. And the miraculous nature of the circumstances demand attention and serious contemplation. Epiphany is an invitation to marvel at the glory of God revealed in the coming of Christ rather than to be weighed down by our disenchanted world.
When the glory of the Lord is revealed, our hearts tend to respond in one of two ways – repentance or rejection. As Jesus declared his divine identity to the religious elite of his day, they couldn’t stand to hear his words and they grew in their hatred of him (John 8:58-59). But when the broken and marginalized see Jesus for who he is, they are drawn to him and pour their hearts out in worship (Luke 7:36-50).
Participating In The Story
During this season of Epiphany as we reflect on the glory of Christ revealed, we enter into a time of examination, confession, and repentance. As we ask the Lord to reveal to us the ways in which we treasure the lesser, smaller glories of this world over and above the glory of God in the flesh.
As the Spirit reveals our affections for our bankrupt objects of desire, the grace of God invites us to confess the ways in which our hearts are not surrendered to Christ and walk in repentance.
Questions For Reflection
- Why do you think God the Father would reveal himself by sending God the Son in the flesh? What do you think this says about who God is and what he’s like?
- Ask the Lord to reveal to you the ways in which you are in need of renewed affections and commitment to Christ in this season. As you are praying, write down what comes to mind and surrender those areas to the Lord.
Give us grace, O Lord, to answer readily
the call of our Savior Jesus Christ and proclaim to all people
the good news of his salvation,
that we and the whole world may perceive the glory
of his marvelous works;
who lives and reigns with you
and the Holy Spirit, one God,
forever and ever. Amen.