Oh, my friends.
Yesterday, January 6, was Epiphany. It may be that your tradition doesn't recognize Epiphany as a special day—I'd never heard of it until I was well into adulthood.
Simply put, the feast of Epiphany celebrates the revelation of Jesus to the Gentiles. The particular event marked by many churches is the visit of the Magi to the Christ Child. Of course, this didn't take place 12 days after Jesus was born, but having a special day to celebrate makes a lot of sense to me.
In other traditions, January 6 marks a celebration of the baptism of Jesus, particularly because it's the revelation of Jesus as God. (Remember that the heavens opened and God's voice was heard saying "This is my beloved Son"? Jesus was more than just the son of Mary and Joseph; he was the Son of God.)
But in the United States January 6 will now be remembered as the dreadful day that people—U.S. citizens—stormed the U.S. Capitol. If you've read this blog for any length of time, you know that I don't talk about politics. I have opinions, of course, but I don't express those opinions online. I don't intend to change that policy.
Yet I cannot be silent today. This was terrible. These acts were treasonous, and I believe that committing them in the name of Jesus was blasphemy. Yet I don't think we can dismiss this as the action of "thugs." Sure, many of the people who did this were thugs. But it appears that some were ordinary citizens who allowed themselves to be caught up in evil, who cooperated with evil, even though many of them felt that they had been tasked with saving the nation from evil. Make no mistake: their actions were inexcusable, and I am outraged at them, but my overwhelming feeling today is sadness. I am sad that people can be so easily led astray.
And so I want us to reclaim January 6 as Epiphany: a day when eyes are opened, when Jesus is revealed.
I want us to remember that Jesus came not as a ruler flaunting his power, but as a helpless baby who grew up to live a life guided every moment by the Spirit, who taught us to love God and love one another, and who sacrificed his life in order to save us. I'm reminded today of the words of Philippians 2, who describes Jesus as one "who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!"
My prayer is that our eyes will be opened to the truth of what Jesus did for us—that the eternal Son of God became a human being so that all humans can become sons and daughters of God. Our place in the family of God is not dependent upon anything on this earth.
Friends, we live and work by the grace of God. Remember, grace is not just forgiveness; it's God at work in our lives. We woke up this morning in a world created by God. We breathe air provided by God. As the apostle Paul said to people in Athens, "God himself gives life and breath and everything else. . . . In Him we live and move and have our being" (Acts 17).
We live by the grace of God. We are tasked with growing in that grace. And we are privileged to reflect that grace to everyone around us. That's why I started the Grace at Home party years ago—to celebrate all the ways we try to make our homes places of grace.
If y'all would like for me to continue to host this party, I'd be glad to do so. Please let me know.
For now, here it is: a chance for you to link up any post you've written that demonstrate how you're filling your own home with truth, goodness, and beauty.
Whatever you do to make your home a place of grace, I'd like to hear about it. Here's what I ask of you. Please include the permalink to your post, not your blog's home page. Please let people know that you've linked up. No more than three posts per person, please. Note that if you link a post here, you are giving me permission to share your post, including a photo. And visit at least one of the other party participants--that's what really makes it a party, and during these difficult times, it can really make someone's day!
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