Post date: Dec 29, 2014 6:31:55 PM
Dear People of God,
Happy New Year! May God bless you in 2015 and may you be a blessing to others. Through January 5th the church is still celebrating the feast of Christmas. For the shopping malls it all ended on Dec 24th, except for the returns. But for Christians, we think the birthday of our Savior Jesus is worth celebrating for a full 12 days. On January 6th we begin the season of Epiphany. Epiphany is the season of light. In the midst of a cold, dark January we look to the light of Jesus Christ. Epiphany means a revelation, a manifestation, something is brought to light and clearly understood.
The January church calendar starts out with 3 epiphany events which spell out the good news that Jesus is Lord and Savior. First off, the naming of Jesus on January 1st spells out that Jesus is the Savior. What’s in a name? Jesus or Joshua/Yeshua in Hebrew literally means “He saves” or “God saves”. As the angel told Joseph, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” (Matthew 2:20-21) Like all Jewish babies, Jesus was named on the 8th day of life. In our modern calendars, this is also New Year’s Day. How appropriate to start off a new year in the name of Jesus, the one who saves.
Next, we have the Visitation of the Wisemen on January 6th. The magi from the East followed the star and traveled long and far to see the child who was born king of the Jews. When they finally found the humble child with his mother, they knelt down and worshiped him. The magi brought him gold, frankincense and myrrh: gifts fit for a king. The visit of the magi is an epiphany and reveals that Jesus truly is our good and gracious heavenly king. The Wisemen help reveal the truth about Jesus. Wise men and women still seek him today.
Then on January 11th we celebrate the Baptism of our Lord. Jesus is baptized by John in the River Jordan. Though sinless, Jesus is baptized in solidarity with us and with all people. As Jesus is baptized, the heavens are opened, the Spirit of God descends on him like a dove and God’s voice from heaven says, “This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.” Matthew 3:17. Jesus baptism is his commissioning for service. After he is baptized Jesus starts, teaching, healing, eating with people and feeding them and journeying toward the cross, the grave and the resurrection.
In our own baptisms, God claims us as his daughters and sons and commissions us for service in the name of our crucified and risen Savior, Jesus Christ. And trusting in Jesus the Savior of the world, we seek to share the light and love of Jesus with other people.
May your Epiphany season be full of the light of Jesus,