After lots of frantic preparation, Christmas has come and gone for another year. I hope you all managed to fulfil the good wishes in our Christmas cards to have a good and peaceful time and to renew old and treasured acquaintanceships once more.
The Roman Catholic Churches in Bingley distributed some posters before Christmas, reminding us to put ‘Christ back into Christmas’ and hopefully the churches at least have done that as we celebrated the birth of a child in our individual churches and with other denominations out on the streets of Bingley. (Bingley nativity Live).
Following Christmas, we are now in the season of Epiphany. Epiphany literally means ‘the manifestation of God’. It is God showing himself to humans, but he doesn’t seem to do it very openly. To those he has appeared to, such as Moses by the burning bush, he does it in ‘veiled’ form. Prophets found him in quiet places, aware of his presence, hearing his voice, but not actually seeing him.
The nearest that humans get to see God is in Christ. Even for those who grew up with Jesus and lived with him, loved him and followed him, God was rarely recognised. He was hidden in plain sight is an expression we would probably use now. We, who have the wisdom of hindsight, can now see God through the eyes of Jesus’s contemporaries, many of whom did not recognise God until after the resurrection.
Epiphany ends with the Transfiguration (check out Matthew Ch 17 v1-9), a passage I, along with most people even theological scholars, find quite mysterious. But having explored the meaning of Epiphany a little, maybe it is becoming a little clearer, although still rather foggy!