My husband, Ron, and I needed a trip to the mountains. Faced with some major changes in our lives, we needed to clear our heads by getting away from all that was familiar. There is nothing like the alpine air of the Colorado Rockies to do just that. As we wound our way up and down mountain passes, our conversation turned brighter and much more hopeful. The dead ends we seemed to be bumping into at home opened up and revealed themselves as avenues to something new and life-giving. By the end of the day, we had reached a level of clarity around the issues with which we were grappling.
The word “epiphany” comes from the Greek Epiphania, meaning “revelation.” The Feast of the Epiphany of the Lord, which is celebrated by Catholics in the United States on the Sunday between January 2 and January 8, marks the journey of the Magi to pay homage to the Holy Child Jesus.
In Orthodox traditions, the traditional feast day (January 6) marks the celebration of the birth of Christ. In many cultures, the Epiphany marks a “little Christmas”, one celebrated with gift-giving and the sharing of special foods.
No matter when or how it is celebrated, the Epiphany is steeped with meaning for those seeking enlightenment. The image of three astrologers following a bright star across the darkened landscape is one of hope and promise. Their journey ends, not in a palace, but in a humble dwelling. Theirs is a story of surprise and wonder, of unexpected blessings and challenging encounters.
So it goes with the little epiphanies in our own lives. Often what is needed is a change of scenery, a stepping out into uncharted territory where we might find ourselves guided by nothing more than a sliver of light. It seemed to work that way for Ron and me as we traversed the Colorado mountains over the weekend. God’s grace shimmered around us as we came to terms with both the challenges and the blessings in our lives.
Make a batch of Epiphany bread and share it with your class or family.