In this season of Epiphany, we celebrate the revealing of Jesus to the world – first as a baby, then at his baptism, in his calling of the disciples, and in his ministry. It is the totality of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection that reveals the fullness of God’s love for us and the lengths to which God will go to be in relationship with us. As Jesus, the person and his purpose, was revealed, those who received that good news were compelled to share it. Everywhere Jesus went, people gathered around him to be taught and healed, and they went and told others. His reputation preceded him, and crowds gathered to greet him. Sometimes, Jesus was overwhelmed and snuck away to be alone with God, to pray, to re-center himself and to be strengthened for his continued work – work that is not yet complete in this world.
It has been a month since Christmas. The decorations are down. The attention of the world around us has turned to other, more worldly matters, and the joy and hope of Christmas has faded for most. But for us, who seek to follow Jesus, Christmas is just the beginning. Throughout Epiphany we continue to be surprised by the ways God shows up and reveals God’s self in the world. And it is our joy to continue to spread that good news, to live as Jesus did and to surprise others along the way. A one-day Christmas brings hope for a moment. The long work of Epiphany and beyond is to sustain and nurture that hope. Howard Thurman’s poem, “The Work of Christmas,” encourages us.
When the song of the angels is stilled,
When the star in the sky is gone,
When the kings and princes are home,
When the shepherds are back with their flock,
The work of Christmas begins:
To find the lost,
To heal the broken,
To feed the hungry,
To release the prisoner,
To rebuild the nations,
To bring peace among others,
To make music in the heart.
Look around. How is God being revealed to you? How are you revealing God to others?
The poem “The Work of Christmas” is from Howard Thurman’s The Mood of Christmas and Other Celebrations and is used by permission of Friends United Press. All rights reserved.