Christmas has come and gone.
In this season, paradoxically called epiphany, we ask our neighbors, “how was your holiday?,” we un-trim the tree, dismantle the decorations, put away the nativity, and resolve to return to our regularly scheduled lives.
But what are our regularly scheduled lives and how do they fit with the violent breaking in of our God in advent, the not so sterilized versions of that stable birth, a season of unadulterated joy, and a baby savior who takes away the sin of the world? Isn’t the meaning of epiphany, “the manifestation of God,” enough to send us on grand pilgrimages like the wise men and change us forever?
This past advent, our pastor preached passionately about the need to take the nativity off the mantle, to become acquainted with a rather inconvenient and culturally inappropriate pregnancy, the messy squalor of the stable, and welcome this paradoxical savior and all his rupture into our neat, little worlds. It pains me that we, who have experienced the greatest hope and joy of this season, can think of nothing to ask our children but “what did you get for Christmas?” How have we really taken the nativity off the mantle if our lives look the same in this holy season of epiphany? And how can we welcome epiphany if we resolve to go back to our regularly scheduled lives?
In this holy season of afterbirth, joy, and wonder, I encourage you to stop and reflect on the gift of a savior. I encourage you to ask not just about travel, family, and presents, but the epiphanies that others have experienced in light of the grace we have received.
As Mary pondered all these things in her heart, so might we ponder how Christ has been reborn in us, and how because of this, 2014 will never be the same.