An ‘aha’ moment

3 wise men credit Kevin Phillips public domain picturesFor Epiphany, the Revd Richard Church, Deputy General Secretary (Discipleship) for the United Reformed Church asks what surprises have come our way?

In ordinary speech an epiphany marks an ‘aha’ moment. It is the moment when a character is suddenly struck with a life-changing realisation which changes the rest of the story. It is clear how close this common meaning is to the Christian season of Epiphany (6 January), the visit to the Christ child by wise men.

But, the ‘aha’ moment occurs when the star stops and leads the wise men to the place where Jesus lay and there, they offer gifts, full of meaning, to the young family.

For the family also, a moment of disclosure has occurred in the strangeness of the encounter and in the rich, rare and troubling gifts that have been laid at the crib.

That this dawning realisation affected the political realities is clear from Herod’s response. He was fearful of loss of power and therefore violent. He was almost certainly aware of the prophecy of Isaiah 60 that the vindication of captive Israel would come in the form of tribute by other nations.

I wonder what your ‘aha’ moment looks like? On this side of Christmas, what surprises have come your way?

In some challenging words, Pope Francis said, during a mass celebrating the feast of the Epiphany at the Vatican on 6 January, 2018: “If we want to find Jesus, we have to overcome our fear of taking risks, our self-satisfaction and our indolent refusal to ask anything more of life. We need to take risks simply to meet a child.

“Those risks are immensely worth the effort, since in finding that child, in discovering his tenderness and love, we rediscover ourselves,” as reported in Crux.

If, as a result of our epiphany moment, the rest of our life’s story is to change, we will need, in the Pope’s words, to rediscover ourselves. We are told of the wise men that on finding the place, they were overwhelmed with joy and that on entering in they knelt down and worshipped (Matthew 2:11).

May your ‘aha’ moment lead you afresh to the Christ child to pour out your treasures at his feet and in the process of renewed self-giving, rediscover who you are.

 

Published: 3 January 2020