Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you!
Darkness shrouds the earth. Midnight’s shade veils the peoples of this world. But not the church. Get up, Israel, shine as if you’ve swallowed a liquid sun and your every pore is a window of fire. Your Light has been born for you. Today is its birthday.
A star appears in the East. A spotlight over its Creator. A single constellation bows over that Light of Light from whom darkness flees. He who said, "Let there be light" becomes His own word.
He is the Sun before whom all suns flicker as candles;
the Fire before whom all flames are as ash;
the Heat before whom all summers shiver in shame.
Nations travel to this light. The whole Gentile world is compressed into the Magi. They bring gifts of gold and frankincense and myrrh. Thine own of Thine own they offer unto Thee, This baby God bouncing on His mother's knee. They regift the Giver of all to whom no gift truly can be given. From him and to him and through him are all things, both in heaven and on earth.
Beneath the star the wise men found
The Child who would a world confound
With love so foolish he would give
His all, and more, that fools might live.
To you, Bethlehem, in land of Judah, they travel. From you comes a Ruler who will shepherd God’s people, Israel. The lost sheep of the house of Judah, the lost sheep of Greece and Rome and Persia and America, they hear your voice.
They hear that infant cooing
that will one day be the adult beseeching
that will one final day be the crucified man
panting, moaning, exhaling, dying for you.
That voice the sheep hear. They know the voice of their shepherd, even when He is the lamb silent before those who slaughter him. He is born in Bethlehem, of the house and lineage of David. He is David’s Son and Lord, the root and stem of Jesse, the slayer of hell’s Goliath, and the ruler of Israel.
Come and worship him, for there is no other to worship. All other gods are devils, all other ways are pits, all other truths are lies. He is the gold of the Father. For your sake became poor, that he might enrich you. He is the frankincense and myrrh of heaven. His sacrificed body is the incense that will waft upward as a pleasing aroma to the Lord. In him the stench of every sin becomes as perfume.
He is the Epiphany of everything God is, everything God has, every gift God desires to lavish upon you. @@He is the Alpha of love, the Omega of grace.@@ He is every combination of the letters of the alphabet that spells out the Father’s will to save you.
Arise, O Church, and shine, for your Light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you!
A blessed Epiphany to you all!