How was Jesus born in you? When was your epiphany?

Jeff Hedglen

North Texas Catholic

1/3/2014

I recently saw an explanation of Advent that said something to the effect that “If you’re tired of Christmas by the 25th of December you are doing Advent wrong.”

This is because Christmas, as per the Liturgical Calendar (the schedule of the seasons of the Church year) doesn’t begin until Dec. 24 and lasts all the way to the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, which this year is not until January 12.

Christmas is all about the birth of Jesus, in time, almost 2,000 years ago and in our lives all the time. Because the secular observance of Christmas seems to last until Jan 26 when all the stores re-open, so people can return all the gifts they opened the day before, we can lose sight of the opportunity to really celebrate, contemplate, and enjoy the reality of God’s love for humanity revealed in the sending of his Son to save us for all eternity.

In the middle of the Christmas Season is the Feast of Epiphany, the remembrance of three visitors from the East who came bearing gifts for the newborn King of the Jews. This feast is a perfect opportunity to more deeply reflect on the coming of Jesus in our own lives.

Years ago on the Feast of Epiphany the homily at my parish was pretty much given by the congregation. My pastor began by reminding us that the Magi traveled a great distance following a star so they could find Jesus. He then asked the people in the church what was our “star,” what lead us to find Jesus in our life; in short what was our personal epiphany moment?

For the next 20 minutes Father Beaumont scurried all over the church with the microphone as people shared about the people who helped them grow in faith, or the retreat they attended that changed their life, or the way the Scriptures had impacted their faith, or about a specific moment in prayer, or at Mass or in nature or in silence when they encountered the living God.

The stories were as varied as they were numerous. Each in their own way revealing the countless ways that God reveals himself to humanity. I can remember that Mass like it was yesterday, even though it was close to 20 years ago.

All of the decorating and cooking, and wrapping and unwrapping are important parts of celebrating Christmas, but if we are to successfully avoid the trap of kicking Christmas to the curb along with our Christmas tree a few days after Dec. 25 we have to intentionally find ways to make Christmas about the Incarnation.

If God had not emptied himself to embrace humanity, life, not just Christmas, would lose its meaning. The Incarnation is the seminal moment in creation. It simultaneously raised the dignity of the human person, opened the door for salvation, gave us a mediator and direct connection to the Father, and paved the way for the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

Jesus the God, man is the focal point of our lives, even if we do not consciously think about it all that often. The season of Christmas is the perfect time to seriously consider our relationship with the Lord.

So, whether it is on the Feast of the Mother of God (January 1) or Epiphany (January 6) or the Baptism of the Lord (January 12) or even someplace in between, I encourage you to take a few moments to think about your “star.” What led you to find Jesus in your life; in short what is your personal epiphany moment?

Then, once you know what it is, share it with someone, post it on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, or find a way to Instagram it. Knowing your story is one thing; sharing it is what we are called to do. Like the great Christmas song says: “Go tell it on the mountain that Jesus is Christ is born” (in your life).

But don’t stop there, be like Pope Francis, live the words you speak. Put into action the love you have received from God. For when we do this, the truth of Christmas impacts the world around us every day of the year.

I recently saw an explanation of Advent that said something to the effect that “If you’re tired of Christmas by the 25th of December you are doing Advent wrong.” 

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