|Posted by St. Alban's Episcopal Church on January 5, 2022 at 11:35 AM|
Today is Epiphany. It is the day on our church calendar when the twelve days of Christmas are completed and we remember when the Magi followed the star that led them to the Christ Child. The word ‘epiphany’ also has taken on the meaning of suddenly seeing or understanding something. In fact, the Merriam-Webster’s dictionary gives the following definitions of the term ‘epiphany’: 1. A(usually) sudden manifestation or perception of the essential nature of something; 2. An intuitive grasp of reality through something(such as an event), usually simple and striking. Sometimes these ‘epiphanies’ can be of something rather deep and intellectual, or of something rather simple. For example, not having grown up in a liturgical tradition, the song “The Twelve Days of Christmas” didn’t make sense to me when I was a child. I knew only that Christmas was Dec. 25th. Once I understood more of church history and the liturgical calendar, it made perfect sense. Life is like that, isn’t it? Just when you think you know or understand something, more knowledge is revealed and suddenly you question whether or not you really ever understood.
Well, welcome to the life of faith. We are called to seek understanding through our faith. If nothing else, the challenges we are enduring with the pandemic should be teaching us that our staid, comfortable understandings of what we are entitled to have in life are, at best, our own opinions, and not something promised to us. It’s very possible we have followed the wrong star, and not the star the Magi followed to find the Christ Child. Below is the text of an old song that reminds us whose star we are to follow. The song is called “Beautiful Star of Bethlehem” and is one that Matt Presson and I have shared with the congregation on previous celebrations of the Epiphany. I hope it will be of encouragement to you as we begin a new year.
Beautiful Star of Bethlehem
O beautiful Star of Bethlehem, shining afar through shadows dim, giving a light to those who long have gone; and guiding the wise men on their way unto the place where Jesus lay, beautiful Star of Bethlehem, shine on!
REFRAIN: O beautiful Star of Bethlehem! Shine upon us until the glory dawns; give us a light to light the way into the land of perfect day: beautiful Star of Bethlehem, shine on!
O beautiful Star, the hope of light, guiding the pilgrim through the night, over the mountain ‘til the break of dawn into the light of perfect day; it will give out a lovely ray: beautiful Star of Bethlehem, shine on! REFRAIN
O beautiful Star, the hope of rest for the redeemed, the good, the blest: yonder in glory when the crown is won, Jesus is now that Star divine; brighter and brighter He will shine! Beautiful Star of Bethlehem, shine on! REFRAIN
Words and Music by Adger M. Pace and R. Fisher Boyce
© 1940 James D. Vaughan Music, adm. SpiritSound Music