This week Christians celebrate the Epiphany – the sudden revelation of God in a way which requires immediate response.
The traditional story for this celebration is that of the wise men worshipping the baby Jesus with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh (Matthew 2:1-12). Yet the greatest gift given from the moment of the star’s appearance is actually the birth announcement through which God declares: “See! I am with you! I am here in your midst!”
God’s declaration invites us to examine whether we living our best possible life. Not a good life. Not a safe life. Not a happy-enough life. Not an at-least-I-know-what-tomorrow-holds life. Not even a I-have-all-I-could-ask-for life. Our best possible life.
A life lived with a deep awareness of our connection to God, to one another, to the world around us, to enemy and to stranger. An open-eyed life in which we look constantly for evidence of God with us, in the familiar and in the unexpected. A life in which we are not bound by rules and routines so much as liberated by Love, to love – in simple acts of kindness as well as extravagant, outrageous, generous gestures. A life in which work is a joy and a reward, and rest is protected and savoured. A life in which our immediate answer is not “No” when we are confronted by the uncomfortable, the unknown, the unplanned for; nor “Yes” to everything that is simply expected from us. A life of seeking and searching, sitting with questions, sharing stories, seeing new perspectives, standing steady on what we know to be true: “See! I am with you! I am here in your midst!”
God’s declaration set the wise men on their journey. Yet for King Herod and all the people in Jerusalem, it caused anxiety and worry, and a stubborn refusal to move from his palace and his power until he knew exactly where the king of the Jews was to be found and what was going on. In the same way, surrendering to the best possible life that God has dreamed of for us often means giving up the security of our good-enough lives.
And so, on this first Monday of 2016, I invite you to take a moment to think about God’s promise “See! I am with you! I am here in your midst!” and how you would like to respond to the great gift of God’s power and presence with you – both this day and in the days that lie ahead.
Yours in Christ