January is the month in which Christians celebrate the Epiphany.[1] The commemoration of the wise men coming to worship the child Jesus. Epiphany means “appearing” and it is a celebration of the first appearing of God in flesh into human history.

Ever since the departure of Jesus we have been waiting for the apocalypse. The final coming of Jesus in all of His glory, splender, majesty and power. The word apocalypse means “revealing” and when that day comes the veil between heaven and earth will be torn apart. “For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face.”

But we live between His appearing and His revealing. What does this mean for us who are to provide a foretaste of what is to come? At the very least we ought to be people living in expectation. Our certainty of Christ’s second coming is secured to the historical fact of His first coming. If we lose sight of this hope, if we despair of His ever-nearing presence, if we succumb to the nay-sayers who spew anxious thoughts of desolation, then where will society find light to chase away the shadows? If our light becomes dark, how will our neighbours find safety as they travel through this world?

I am not suggesting a naïve optimism. I am only advocating that there are more than enough people crying “wolf” in the streets and warning that the sky is falling and there are not enough who are shining light in the darkness. Paying attention to the splendor of the ordinary that greets us at every turn.

2018 felt like a year in which a constant cascade of sludge spewed from media in all forms, extinguishing small lights of potentially great hope. What if 2019 was a year in which people of faith lifted their lights higher? If we rose above the denigrating tone of hopelessness. What if we refused to stoop to the level of name calling and accusations? What if we truly loved our enemies and prayed for those who wrong us? What if we rose above the clamour and noise of this world as if the politics of society determined the future of humanity?

What if we, as people who have embraced the appearance of Christ’s first coming to earth and the hope of Christ revealing Himself again, lived lives of expectant, contagious, hope!

2019 has just dawned – let’s make it a beautiful sunrise.

[1] Epiphany Sunday was celebrated on January 6th by the Western church, the Eastern church will celebrate it on the 19th.

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