The Living Story of Epiphany

On November 26, 2015, Nancy and I received a wonderful gift on our smart phones: the ultrasound picture of Meghann and Peter’s baby at 19 weeks. He appeared to be resting comfortably on his back, perhaps doing a knee lift to try out some developing muscles.
We can easily take the gift of human life for granted, probably because there are several billion of us on the planet. But when you think that every single one of us started out in this way – even persons like Mother Theresa and Martin Luther King – it makes one stop and wonder about the amazing potential of every human life.epiphany
We are still basking in the glow of the celebration of Christmas, the gift of a particular human life. No doubt, if there had been ultrasound imaging in Mary and Joseph’s time, Jesus of Nazareth would have looked much like the ultrasound I saw in November. It’s easy to quickly dismiss this comparison by stating, “But THAT baby was the Son of God.” However, that was not evident to virtually everyone until this person had become a rabbi, gathered around himself many followers, spoken God’s truth with unequalled wisdom and authority, exercised power over evil, willingly sacrificed himself to a horrible death, and, most importantly, conquered death and appeared in a resurrected body. It was who Jesus showed himself to be – and our acceptance of his identity as the unique Son of God – that made his birth a one-of-a-kind event.
This realization of the true identity of Jesus is called his epiphany. And that showing forth of Jesus as the Son of God we celebrate on January 6 – the Feast of the Epiphany of the Lord. It is true that the birth and life of Jesus of Nazareth is unique. But if this is what God can do in the human flesh of Jesus – what does that say about our humanity? Surely every human life must have amazing potential in the hands of God – including yours and mine!

Donald Phillips is the Bishop of Rupert’s Land

It may not be too difficult to begin to believe this on an individual scale. Perhaps we can imagine that in- utero baby as one day growing up to make very significant contributions to the lives of others and society at large. But what is one life in the midst of several billion? It seems that before we can begin to entertain the fact that one life could be the source of transformation for many others, we need to see evidence. Perhaps the person has to be born in a very important city or they have to be a child prodigy, already known in the media before they finish grade school.
But look at the life of Jesus. He was born in a back-water town of a small, occupied country to parents of little significance in society. He revealed the epiphany of who he really was by living his life in the will of God. The influence of that single human life on the course of history is unparalleled. I wonder what the impact of your life and mine might be when we live our lives in the will of God? I suspect that the resulting epiphanies would be powerful indeed. This seems to be God’s loving will for every human being.


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