Advent Devotion for January 6, Epiphany
In lighting the candle, the candle lighter says: “He is a light to reveal God to the nations.”
SCRIPTURE: Isaiah 42:6-9
6 “I, the Lord, have called you to demonstrate my righteousness.
I will take you by the hand and guard you,
and I will give you to my people, Israel,
as a symbol of my covenant with them.
And you will be a light to guide the nations.
7 You will open the eyes of the blind.
You will free the captives from prison,
releasing those who sit in dark dungeons.
8 “I am the Lord; that is my name!
I will not give my glory to anyone else,
nor share my praise with carved idols.
9 Everything I prophesied has come true,
and now I will prophesy again.
I will tell you the future before it happens.”
SCRIPTURE: Luke 2:28-33
28 Simeon was there. He took the child in his arms and praised God, saying,
29 “Sovereign Lord, now let your servant die in peace,
as you have promised.
30 I have seen your salvation,
31 which you have prepared for all people.
32 He is a light to reveal God to the nations,
and he is the glory of your people Israel!”
33 Jesus’ parents were amazed at what was being said about him.
SOME THOUGHTS: When someone speaks of having an “epiphany” they are talking about something that has suddenly “come to light.” It was something that had previously been hidden from them. This day, Epiphany, always January 6, has as its central theme the visitation of the magi. In this case, an “epiphany” was the appearance of the manifestation of a divine being, Jesus Christ. The Light of God had come into the world, a Light to reveal God to all peoples. In one of our early entries in this Advent/Epiphany devotional, we made reference to the covenant God made with Abraham, specifically, that through him and his descendants all the nations of the world would be blessed. We find that prophecy fulfilled in the visit of the kings. For the Jews, this was an epiphany. People did not have to convert to Judaism to worship God. God’s deepest desire is to be in communion with the people he created. Our very first entry on November 27 began with God in communion with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. That was his plan. We broke that relationship due to our rebellion and determination to be “self-sufficient!” (We are all right, and it isn’t going well. Look at the world.) God then provided a way of redemption to make all things new, including us. As you live out this day, notice the people all around you and imagine what they would be like if they knew of God’s desire to be in communion with them. Imagine that for you as well. Start with the Sermon on the Mount tomorrow, it will help!
Do not miss this! This may be one of the most beautiful sacred choral pieces ever written. The soloist is singing the words of Simeon in Russian, the Luke passage you just read. You can easily understand it just by looking at the text while he is singing. Listen very carefully at the end and you will hear the lowest basses you have ever heard!
- "In this sacred song, Christ Emmanuel presented in the Temple, Simeon saw the unbreakable link between Judaism and Christianity. The Jewish expression, “everything made has a crack in it so the sun can shine through” and the Priest said, “Holding Christ, now I see the revelation of the Lord and the glory of the people Israel .” - John Fletcher (YouTube comment, edited for grammar)
- “There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.” -Leonard Cohen
MUSIC: “Lord, Now Lettest Thou, Thy Servant Depart in Peace” Rachmaninoff
Robert Shaw and Festival Singers (YouTube)
PRAYER: O God, who by the leading of a star didst manifest thy only-begotten Son to the Gentiles; Mercifully grant that we, who know thee now by faith, may after this life have the fruition of thy glorious Godhead; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. — from The Book of Common Prayer 1928
POSTSCRIPT: Thank you all for being a part of these past forty-one days. I trust that the Scriptures have encouraged you in your walk with the Lord as we saw the connections between the Old and New Testaments. But most of all, I trust you have drawn closer to our great God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit and that he has spoken through his words and communed with you day-by-day. Keep it up! — Dr. Daniel Sharp, 2016
P.S. We begin work on the Lenten devotionals shortly!