The packages are opened. The wrapping paper remnants are gone. The cookies have been eaten. Carols have been sung. And the Christmas tree is gone. Does that mean that Christmas is over?
For many people the answer is yes. Yet in the church, we have 12 days of Christmas. The season ends with Epiphany on January 6. On Epiphany we remember the wise men who followed the star to find Jesus, the Light of the World. It comes from a Greek root which means “to show”. The star showed the way to Jesus. God comes to us in Jesus to show God’s great love.
Read Matthew 2: 1-12. Did you notice that the wise men were not Jews? Did you notice that the “good Jews” (chief priests and scribes) didn’t recognize that Jesus was here? Already at the beginning of the book of Matthew, we see that God’s love is not limited to insiders, Jews, and holy people. God’s salvation is for all people.
Last night we burned the church’s Christmas tree at an Epiphany bonfire. As the fire lit up the sky, we were reminded how the light of Jesus lights up the darkness in our hearts, lives, and world. We don’t have to look far to see the pain of death, addictions, oppression, war, hunger, mental and physical illness. But even in the midst of those dark times, the light of Jesus offers hope and new beginnings.
The tree is gone now. Does that mean that Christmas is over? Or is it just the beginning? Jesus, the light of the world, changes everything. And you and I are invited into that light. Later in Matthew 5 Jesus calls us: ”You are the light of the world…let your light so shine before others, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.
*Find a very dark space. Maybe a laundry room, closet or bathroom. Sit quietly for a few minutes in the darkness. If you do this with children, talk about how they feel when they are in the dark.
*Notice…is there any light sneaking in under the door?
*Then light a single candle (or flashlight). What difference does that make? Think or talk about how Jesus brings light to your life.
*How can you or your family bring light into someone’s life? Pray for Jesus’ light to shine through you.