This feast of Epiphany leaves me with mixed feelings. I love the continuation of the Christmas story of faith, extending the 12 days of Christmas. For those of us in Louisiana, Epiphany also signals the beginning of “king cake” season—a delightful treat and the beginning of the Mardi Gras season! So I like Epiphany!
But even though the Church says the end of the liturgical season of Christmas takes place next Sunday (the feast of the Baptism of the Lord), a lot of us find ourselves “going back” this week—going back to school, to work, to a world without college football bowl games 🙂 The end of the holiday season is here for many of us. (Even college students are starting to count down the return for the spring semester!) The dread of a Sunday night before a Monday morning of school or work seems to be connected to my memories of Epiphany. “We gotta go back!”
Sometimes I think the message of Epiphany is “Are we ‘going back’ too soon?” Are we putting away the Advent and Christmas spirit too soon? The spiritual practices of listening, waiting, seeking and searching…
Today’s gospel includes the line: “Herod sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search diligently for the child.” Diligently. I think that’s the word or thought that most strikes me on this feast of Epiphany. Diligently is defined on dictionary.com as: “constant in effort to accomplish something; attentive and persistent in doing anything”.
The wise men were willing to travel, to struggle, to face challenges (from Herod) and to be SURPRISED by seeing the Messiah in a very different way than they expected a King to look.
Are you and I DILIGENT…constant, attentive, persistent? Or do we “go back” to busy ways, way too soon?
Epiphany means “manifestation, showing”. God is STILL showing Himself to us.
Christian author Max Lucado reminds us, “The One who came, STILL comes. The One who spoke, STILL speaks.” In other words, God communicates to us in this feast that He is diligent in revealing Himself to us. It doesn’t end at Christmas. It didn’t end in Bethlehem or on Calvary. God is near in 2014.
I saw a bumper sticker years ago: “Wise men STILL seek Him”. Let us re-commit to being diligent…and remember that God is even more diligent in showing himself to us. Come let us adore Him.