A few nights ago, there were some kids in our neighborhood out building a snowman long after dark. They were running, shouting, and balling up snow – undeterred by the surrounding darkness and using only the dim light reflected off the blanket of white snow. It was fun watching them play. I was impressed by their enthusiasm at the end of the day, when most of us would be nestled inside drawing our day to a conclusion.
Epiphany is about God bringing light into the world. Specifically, the season is a revealing of the light coming into the world through the person and ministry of Jesus Christ. As the prophet foretold, “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness – on them light has shined.”(Isaiah 9:2) This emerging of the Light of the World in Jesus mimics the first day of creation described in Genesis (1: 1-5):
“In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, 2the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters. 3Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. 4And God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. 5God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.”
Once again, a wind/ breath/ Spirit from God swept over the face of the waters of the Jordan River at Jesus’ baptism, descended upon Jesus in the form of a dove, and God proclaimed that the light was good: “I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:17) in Jesus, the chosen Savior. It is as if God is saying, “This is a new day. Let there be a new coming of the Kingdom of God, filled with divine justice, love, and peace”.
Sometimes we can forget that Jesus shines new light on our darkened world, announcing that God’s reign will not be overcome by the forces of evil. Sometimes we have trouble seeing God’s grace at work amid the stories of gloom and doom. Oh, that we would have the spiritual energy to work and play long after the sun has disappeared for the day, like those children building a snowman! Oh, that our delight in God’s presence and power in our lives would surpass the delight of those kids playing in a fresh layer of snow after dark! The Light has come into the world. Let us play in it with enthusiasm!