“I, Jesus…I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star” (Revelation 22:16).
“I am the Light of the world” (John 8:12)
“In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” (John 1:4-5)
“The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world” [and] “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.” (John 1:9,14)
Epiphany: -- an appearance or manifestation especially of a divine being
-- an illuminating discovery, realization, or disclosure
One of the most recognizable epiphanic symbols of Christmas is the star that rose in the night sky to announce the birth of the Christ into the world. God made a direct choice here, to be born into the world at night so that the light of the star would be seen. The image/lesson of God’s light shining out in the darkness, illuminating both the point and the process, the place and pathway, the divine and the human, would now be forever a part of our physical and spiritual life.
The incarnation intended nothing less than the utter transformation of human life and existence. The not subtle, not gentle bursting forth of new life and new light were the humanly and heavenly communion of the divine cry and call to eternity. God did not take us out of the world in order that we might find the divine; God came into the world so that we might go into ourselves and find the Savior.
Jesus continued (even to the end as we heard in the 22nd chapter of the Book of Revelation) to emphasize the light against the darkness. Light years (pun intended) beyond the “Star rising in the East,” Jesus speaks about our inner darkness of spirit and mind. Mental health professionals, taking a page from Scripture, tell us that to truly be healed or to even have a chance at healing or wholeness one MUST be honest with the self. Looking inside, that is within our own logic and reason, we must confront ourselves and accept a new way of seeing and being.
God began the witness of the incarnation by giving us a new light to lead us through the darkness and show us the pathway of life, and from that moment on, there is no other Way. When Jesus proclaims, “You are the light of the world” “…let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:14, 16b), he was directing us to be the people we will become when His light shines in us. Each year we celebrate the season of Epiphany to renew our journey in the Light—into Christ, to look inside—by the light of Christ, and having the Way illumined in us; light the Way for others—the Way to eternal life.
By the Light of Christ,
Father Bill Burk†