Epiphany of the Lord Reflection by Gabriel Mayhugh
We all love good stories. Think of your favorite movies, favorite books, favorite childhood stories. These stories can be simple tales, or can be stories that point to larger realities. Either way, any story has a way to shape us. Over the past few weeks we heard some of the most common and popular stories that were ever told in the history of humankind. A story about there being no room at the inn and a child being born in a stable. A story about shepherds coming to do him homage and now the magi coming with gifts.
The liturgical year tells us that Christmas is definitely not over just yet. Christmas continues with the story of the Magi, the kings coming from lands far away. They were following a star that grew brighter just to kneel before a poor child. The story only tells us that they brought three gifts, we do not know how many Magi actually came to visit Christ, nor do we know exactly when they visited. They may have followed that star for years and met a toddler. These kings definitely had faith in something; they knew there was something special about this child. I often wonder and ponder their dedication, and how they became such an important part of the Christmas story.
In the coming weeks we will come to know even more about this simple child and we will hear that he is very special. Just as the Magi knew this, so did the people who lived with Jesus. He will be baptized in the Jordan and the voice of God will say: “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.” Then we will hear stories about Christ’s miracles and how his followers came to believe in him. During Holy Week, we will hear that this simple child grew up, was put to death, and rose from the dead. It is hard to think about a crucified Christ at Christmas, but the reality is that we do not just re-enact the Christmas story, but we tell it as part of Christ’s entire story.
The story does not end with Christ promising to come again, it continues in each of us. We tell our story around a picnic in July, in sharing faith with our children, and in giving of ourselves, our time and our presence to our families, friends, and to the entire world. We tell it in accepting people, even if they are outcasts, unusual or just strange. We do not always have to verbally preach that we have come to know Christ, but we can preach it silently every day in what we do for others. In giving, in sharing, in believing. Christmas is not just about a little child and the Magi, it is about knowing something far bigger. It is about living Christ’s message and celebrating His life, death, and resurrection. This is how we continue the story.
We also have a great way to reflect upon Christmas and continue to celebrate on Wednesday, January 10 at 7:00 p.m. in the church. We are hosting our third annual Epiphany Lessons and Carols. Those who came to the liturgy in the past often call it one of the best kept secrets at Saint Clement. We would like to change that. I hope to see the church fully packed. It is truly moving to see everyone involved in our music ministries singing together for a one-hour parish celebration with over hundred singers from the church and school! The liturgy is pretty simple: There are lessons (readings) and carols (choir pieces and congregational pieces.) Every choir sings something as a solo ensemble. Then all of the choirs join together in the final piece. It is a beautiful and inspirational way to keep Christmas alive as we begin a new year. I hope to see you there!