January 6 Post
“For a child has been born for us, a son given to us; authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. His authority shall grow continually, and there shall be endless peace… with justice and with righteousness from this time onward and forevermore.” -- Isaiah 9:6-7
The twelve days of Christmas have ended. Epiphany is here. Epiphany means “the showing”, that time when God revealed through the heavens that the light of the world is born. Wise men from the east had for some time followed that rare celestial occurrence that brought them to the home of a young family in Nazareth.
Even as God revealed to the world that God’s own Word became flesh to dwell among us, trouble brewed. God through Mary bore light into the darkness of the world’s deepest struggles, with the promise that the darkness could not, would not, overcome what God did and would yet do for all people. But Herod caught wind of this newborn king and would have none of it.
Even as the light still shone in the heavens bearing the promise of hope for all, Joseph, Mary, and a toddler named Jesus fled as refugees to Eqypt. There they remained through Herod’s tragic edict called the slaughter of the innocents, after Herod ordered the death of all pre-school boys under the age of two in a failed attempt to eliminate any competition.
On this Epiphany, we recall these, the only three stories of Jesus’ early childhood: his birth in Bethlehem, the visit of the wise men, and the flight into Egypt. The hinge of history swings on the outcome of these three events. Had any one of them been successfully thwarted, we would not be who we are, where we are, or perhaps have been born at all.
The final word, however, always belongs to God. If Mary had died in childbirth, if Joseph had ignored the warning dream and remained in Nazareth, if the wise men had not followed the star and returned home the long way, giving the young family ample time to escape, then this story, our story, would have ended. Yet, God’s story never ends, and God prevails, regardless.
On this Epiphany, we trust that had Jesus died in childhood, God would have found another way. We claim today, regardless of what happens in the world around us for good or for evil, the unending power of God’s light to shine. We hold fast to that name above all names born as a sign of God’s promises fulfilled.
“God’s authority shall grow continually,
and there shall be endless peace…
with justice and with righteousness
from this time onward and forevermore.”
Prayer: Holy One, your Word made flesh fulfills your promise to be our light shining in the darkness. Keep our eyes fixed upon your epiphany that never ends, as we walk into the light of this new year. Amen
God’s grace, mercy and peace be with you,
Rev. Dr. Anna V. Copeland
Interim Senior Minister
Community Church of Vero Beach