I normally leave the Christmas season behind pretty quickly, eager to jump into a new year and all my resolutions. However this year I’ve lingered around the story of the wise men’s visit to Jesus (Matthew 2), celebrated in the global church in a festival called Epiphany.
The word epiphany is also used to describe a time when God reveals who he is, or a one of those moments in time when we suddenly “get it” – a fresh idea, a time when everything comes together and makes sense. It’s all about revelation.
I’m amazed at the curiosity and tenacity of the wise men. They searched for miles beyond their wisdom and geography, seeking until finally they found the Son of God in the most humble and unexpected place. They didn’t see Jesus healing the sick, sharing profound wisdom, casting out demons. They saw an infant and yet they worshipped because the revelation finally made sense.
I’ve realized that I need to be more curious and tenacious for seeking God’s revelation than for my resolutions as this year gets underway. The resolutions that have flowed from a place of revelation tend to be the most effective anyway. There’s less to prove, more need for grace and power in my weakness. I’m not so disillusioned by mid course corrections because its not about achievement. Instead I’m aware I’m on a journey, following faithfully until it all makes sense. Until he reveals all I need to know.
Then there’s Joseph in the story, responding to yet another spiritual encounter that will turn his world upside down. The last time, a dream announced Jesus’ birth. This time, it was a warning to protect the child’s life. Joseph moved his family to safety on more than one occasion, his life disrupted and defined by the promise he carried in his arms. It’s particularly humbling because the gospels suggest that Joseph didn’t live to see all that this baby would become. Yet he allowed the revelation he did have to reshape his heart, his family, where he lived so that God’s purposes could be fulfilled.
Joseph’s life challenges me:
Am I prepared for God’s revelation to disrupt and define my life – even when I only see the hint of what is to come?
Am I prepared for the upheaval – in my heart, and my family, even where I live?
Can I make room so that God’s purposes will be fulfilled through me, even if I don’t directly or immediately see the benefits – is faithfulness to his word enough for me?
To be honest with you, I’m not sure I can fully answer yes to all of these questions right now, as much I’d like to! Still, the story of the wise men, and Joseph’s example has stirred me. To seek God in his word. To listen and receive God’s revelation. To follow Him faithfully. This will give me all the resolution I need.