Epiphany comes from a Greek word that just means “appearance.” It grew into our current idea of an “epiphany” as an insight, but it originated with the idea that those insights come from God, that they are revelations from God. This same word is used to describe Jesus, as God’s “appearance” in the world.
But, as we’ll continue celebrating the appearances of Christ in our world, we’ll read stories this Epiphany of all the ways that Christ’s presence surprises us. Jesus miracles are surprising; his teachings are surprising; his journey takes surprising twists and turns. It is in the places we least expect to find Jesus that there he is bringing the Kingdom of God, in the everyday things. One of my favorite projects in Seminary was when we were all given half an hour to wander around the campus. We were supposed to take a picture of some place where we saw God doing something at Luther Seminary and share with the rest of the class what we saw.
In Advent, we followed LEAD’s Advent resources with the theme of living intentionally, taking the time to notice the gifts of God around us and wonder about the ways we can be gifts for others. We can continue that into Epiphany. As we go out into our lives, where does God appear to us? In song? In art? In a kind word on a busy morning or the face of a friend we have not seen in a long time? In a good book? We believe that God is most fully revealed in Christ, but that God’s work and God’s love touch everything around us. Where is God moving in our neighborhoods? The answer may surprise us.
Taking it a step further, the apostle Paul tells us that we are the body of Christ. How do our actions reveal the love of God for the world? Our own stories of faith are shaped by others sharing their faith with us; the same is true for those we meet in our jobs or at school, on the bus, on the freeway, in our homes. Our lives tell who God is to the world; we “show” Christ to the world.