Every nativity scene usually has three guys holding gifts. We’re not actually sure how many there were, but we do know that they were from out of town and they followed a star. Back in the day, the world was anticipating some sort of Messiah. They all had different ideas of who this guy would be, but they all expected someone to show up and save them from the perils of this world. So when this bright star popped up in the sky, a group of wise and wandering men hit the sand and traveled toward the light. They believed that it was leading somewhere important and were willing to go on an unknown journey to discover what, or who, that might be. Traveling by the light of a star isn’t the most direct route, but that didn’t stop them.
They made a pit stop in Jerusalem, encountering King Herod and quickly realizing he wasn’t someone they needed as a traveling companion. They were looking for a King, just not that one.
Back on the well-lit path, they navigated their way to Bethlehem. We’re told that when entering the home and seeing Jesus, they fell and worshipped Him. In the church world, when we talk about these men and their gifts, we call it Epiphany. We call it this because it is referring to their sudden realization of who that baby truly was and all that He meant for the world. But this kind of experience isn’t limited to wise men in a desert following a star.
If you look up the word epiphany in the dictionary, you’ll find that it describes something simple and striking that is an illuminating discovery or realization. So what does that mean for us and God?
While we don’t have a tangible light to follow in the sky like the wise men, we can still follow the Light. As we follow Him through the pages of Scripture, we start to notice ways that Word shows up in the everyday moments of life, guiding us closer to God in the midst of challenges and change. We find ourselves experiencing those simple and striking moments of epiphany, being introduced to the multi-faceted character of God in our everyday lives.
A Creator who doesn’t make mistakes.
A Healer who reaches the deepest wounds.
A Guide who pursues and leads.
A Provider who withholds nothing that is needed.
A Comforter who weeps and knows our sorrows.
A Savior who offers grace as a loving embrace.
If you have been following Jesus for a long time, I believe that there is always still a journey ahead, leading to new discoveries and deeper levels of relationship. If you haven’t met Him yet and this is a new adventure for you, my prayer is that you will simply be willing to start this journey (even if it’s with a bit of hesitancy) and seek the Light, wherever He might lead you.
A CREATOR WHO DOESN’T MAKE MISTAKES
In the beginning…
If you have never read the Bible, those words are a great place to start. If you have grown up learning about the days of creation, I’ll invite you to open your Bible and check out this passage again. Genesis 1 & 2 details the events of creation and the work of our Creator. We are told that the voice of God formed the world when there was nothing but an intense darkness. He projected light, separated the sky and sea, while also spreading out the dry land. Think about that for a second, there was literally nothing before He spoke it into existence. There was literally nothing until His voice illuminated the world.
But He didn’t stop there.
After setting apart landscapes, He filled them with plants, animals, and people. As if simply creating the world from nothing wasn’t amazing enough, He created a world that could endlessly grow and multiply in beautiful and remarkable ways. He created a world that was meant to expand and transform. He created a world that was alive and ever-changing.
But He didn’t stop there.
Fast forward almost 4,000 years and you’ll learn about a baby who was born in a tiny stable, relatively unknown to the world. The angels proclaimed His arrival, and He grew in knowledge and grace, teaching as a child and performing miracles as a man. This baby was Jesus, who then went to the cross out of an abundant love for His creation. In a moment, He conquered the grave in a way that created a new path for the transforming power shown in the beginning.
The events of creation were the beginning of a passionate love story written by a Creator who breathed into life a world of beauty and continual renewal. The events of the cross show us the continuous grace of a Savior who breathed eternal life into His creation for a complete renewal.
The most incredible part is that this pattern of creation and transformation continues endlessly! With each baby that is born, there is a moment of creation and a lifetime of beautiful transformation. We grow and change, from the time we are knit together inside our mother’s womb until we breathe out our final breath.
We are told in Psalm 139 that we are created, formed, and wonderfully made. It’s a beautiful depiction of who God is and the tender loving care He uses to create His children. But as one of those children, I have to admit that there are times when it’s really easy to pick out my imperfections, those that are seen by everyone and the ones I keep buried deep. Between my thick thighs and my less than loving thoughts, it’s easy to feel like I’m falling short and struggling to keep it all together most days. On those days, I can’t help but wonder, is this really how God created me?
If you’ve ever asked that question, I’d like to help answer it for all of us as we discuss our Creator, journey in the garden with Adam & Eve, and discover evidence of who He is in our lives. I’ll share with you some of my own insecurities and stumbles, with a hope that you will do the same as we seek to embrace ourselves as beautiful creation and honor our Creator.