Quick recap: advent came to a close at sundown on Xmas eve, and we started the 12-day Christmas season as the time to consider and pursue what it is that God became a person. We talked about Isaiah’s prophecy (9:2-7) in terms of what it meant to Galileeans in his day and in Jesus’ that a Messiah would come to their war-torn, ravaged border-land.
Last week we saw Jesus grow up to age 12 in Luke 2:41-52, and wondered at the idea that God-in-the-flesh was one to ask questions, and learn, and grow in body/mind. Jesus had this desire to know God, and his connection to God was what made him standout, not just “boy-wonder” powers.
And now for Epiphany Sunday. It’s still Christmas until Jan. 6th (Wednesday), but at Epiphany we shift towards how God-in-the-flesh, Jesus, affected everything, everywhere. So our text this Sunday from Isaiah 60 makes clear that a light has dawned.
This is the Sunday we usually hear from the wise men, the magi, because their coming from a foreign land connects to how Christ is a gift to the whole world, not just Jews or those in Bethlehem or Galilee. Even more, the magi followed a star, or comet or whatever it was – it was some heavenly body, showing us that the Messiah’s coming is a big deal not only on earth but in terms of ALL THINGS, the whole universe.
So read Isaiah 60, and maybe 59, too. You can see there some of the cycle that most prophets roll through – words of warning or judgment to urge the people to be faithful to God, followed by words of hope to get them through, followed by universal language where the effects of the prophecy go far beyond just that time or place. The prophets almost always remind of future hope, and it almost always really has to do with earth-changing, universe-altering action by God. There is where we are at Epiphany, trying to understand and exalt how Christ Jesus came to and for ALL.
So, answer these questions: did Jesus’ coming have effects for you? What effects did his coming have on the person beside you, the person you live with, the person you see at random, the person you hate or who hates you?