While walking by, a neighbour asked what it was like celebrating Christmas when most others here were finished with it. After epiphany, she said, I’m so tired of all the decorations!
This made me think. Our Christmas season is in full swing—whether or not we have decorations. Of course, trappings may lose their lustre, but originally, they were a reminder of the reason for unending joy: heaven and nature sing!
This Tuesday is the feast of Christ’s baptism. This is our Church’s equivalent to the Epiphany in the Western Christian Tradition. Epiphany means revelation—revealing. This is a rejoicing at the recognition of what this “Birth” actually signifies. We celebrate a grasp of the ungraspable. We recognize this little human, born to impoverished refugees, as God. The 3 wise men see it: epiphany! When John baptizes this same person as a young man, creation sees the Triune God. Standing in the flowing water of the River Jordan, Jesus reveals the sanctity of all that is human. Together with all creation, being human is being included in the Divine Trinity. Water signifies life: without it there can be no life. It constitutes a large portion of our bodies and our world as well. Here we have the epiphany of Christmas: our life is sacred.
On the Eve of Theophany, we would share the Holy supper of Christmas Eve with our Faith Community. We celebrate the Nativity because we recognize its significance—its miracle! Our custom of Kutia on a Sunday is not possible during COVID, but the deep mystery of this wondrous event permeates our hearts. Truly “Christmas” stays with us year ‘round. It is the revelation that, in essence, every aspect of our human life is precious, beautiful—divine. May we honour this in ourselves and in every person we encounter.
The symbol of Christmas—what is it? . . . It is the promise of tomorrow at the close of every day, the movement of life in defiance of death, and the assurance that love is sturdier than hate, that right is more confident than wrong, that good is more permanent than evil. (Howard Thurman: 1900–1981)