Epiphany: God's "Everyday Specials"
We are now smack in the middle of the season of Epiphany, the time in which the Church explores the different ways in which Jesus Christ was manifested to the world-the word "epiphany" being defined in dictionary.com as "an appearance or manifestation, as of a deity."
In some ways, that's not difficult. It's a commonplace thought that we might find God in a beautiful sunset, or in the sparkle of ice crystals glistening on the winter trees, or the serene comfort of a warm home with the fire glowing in the fireplace and the cats hogging the space in front of it. But can we see God in the whirlwind also? Do you meet God at tax time, besides maybe to complain to and yell at him?
There is another definition of "epiphany" in the hallowed dictionary.com site: "A sudden, intuitive perception of or insight into the reality or essential meaning of something, usually initiated by some simple, homely, or commonplace occurrence or experience." So a burning bush or a GPS star may not be our ticket to experiencing a direct revelation of God. But where, where might we expect to find God? Or more telling, where might we find God when we expect God NOT to appear?
In the Bible, God was most present in the desolate wilderness, where the Israelites had fled after leaving Egypt, and in the valiant defense of the nation when it was surrounded by enemies, and in the exile of the people in Babylonia. God was most present when the people had lost hope, and then found that God had never left them. God is there in the "sound of sheer silence" in which we have surrendered "my way" and become open to "God's way."
Epiphany can last between three and eight weeks, depending on the date of Easter. This year, we have a long pleasant season of eight Sundays, the last Sunday after the Epiphany being February 26.
During this time, perhaps we can deepen our understanding of where God is manifested in our life:
Find Jesus not only in our triumphs but also as he holds us up when we fall.
Find Jesus not only in the magnificent sunset but also in the darkness when he is there to support us when we are afraid.
Find Jesus not only when the winter weather is nice and balmy but also when it rains and snows and makes me miserably cold and wet, because even if I hate the snow and rain and ice, the farmers and the earth love it and I learn that the weather is not all about me.
There's God for you-often where we least expect him, always calling to us, "Do you hear me now?"