(I’m conscious that this is the first blog entry this month – even this year! If you’re looking for the January Paradox newsletter, please note that it was posted on December 21st.)
Today is Epiphany. It’s the feast day in the church-year where it is revealed that Jesus is the incarnation of God in human form.
An image that comes to mind about incarnation is that of peoples’ expressions at hospitals. If you’re in the maternity ward, there are smiles and happy people. If you are in the intensive care unit, or palliative care, peoples’ expressions are often much more somber, even sad. As can be expected, people have an innate love for life, and fear of death – but we may not stop to ponder life or death all that much.
The inbreaking of God into the human experience – entering history in the person of Jesus Christ – is reason for wonder. We use the image of light breaking darkness because Jesus’ life gave us a new vision of how we might be with each other.
God – the source of life, the source of love – is manifest in us, creatures and beings of creation. We experience closeness with God, or what might be called ‘heaven,’ when we relate well with each other and creation. We experience distance from God, or what some might call ‘hell,’ when we break relationship with others and when we neglect life.
It’s fitting that Epiphany arrives early in the new calendar-year – January 6th. It’s a new beginning, a new hope, a new light in the darkness of winter (at least for those of us in the northern hemisphere!). We celebrate God-among-us as revealed in Jesus Christ, and we give thanks for new life. It is this appearance of God, revealed in Jesus, that we carry with us – followers of the way of Christ – in our living. May it be so in 2011!