The vacation is over. The tree is down. The decorations stored until next year. When we lived in Germany, we called this time of year “the gray days.” The days were short, cloudy, and cold without the joy and anticipation of the festivals and Christmas markets that brightened the season before Christmas. As we return to work and daily routine, it can be easy to miss the wonder that is around us each day. As we turn on the news in the evening, it can be easy to be overwhelmed by the darkness of the world around us. It can be easy to be discouraged this time of year, but this is also the season of Epiphany, the celebration of the Light of the World revealed in Jesus.
As I read Matthew’s account of the visit of the Magi on Epiphany, I was struck by the phrase, “When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy.” The Magi noticed the wonder of God, a brightness in the dark. They allowed this wonder to captivate them and lead them on a journey. When they finally came to the place that the wonder was leading, they rejoiced in a way that Matthew can not find enough words to adequately described.
My prayer, my practice, and my challenge for this season of Epiphany is to follow the way of the Magi. I want to notice the wonder of God, the small and large ways that light shines into the darkness. I want to notice God in the sunrise and sunset, in the winter flowers and live oak leaves, in the frost on my windshield and the warm sun on my back. I want to notice the wonder of God in the people around me, in the embrace of good friends and the kindness of strangers, in joyful conversation and wordless tears. I want to notice the wonder of God in prayer, in the soul felt peace of silence and the heart lifting song of praise, in the comfort of the Daily Office and the unpredictability of bedtime prayers with a second grader.
When I notice the wonder of God, I want to follow it. I want to let God lead me into the depths of my soul and the great expanse of His loving kindness. I want to let the wonder of God so captivate me that I lay aside my worries and fears to follow. I want to let God lead me into the presence of Christ and the presence of His people.
In this presence, I want to rejoice. I want to sing from the depths of my very being in praise of God. I want to rejoice with exceedingly great rejoicing. In this season of Epiphany, I want rejoice exceedingly with a joy greater than I can imagine.
I also hope that you will join me this Epiphany in noticing, following, and rejoicing.
Where have you noticed the wonder of God today?