– Br. Michael, ofm
Epiphany is traditionally celebrated on January 6, however various Christian sects celebrate it anywhere between January 3 and 19. This feast sometimes known as “Little Christmas” is a beautiful reminder of Christ – our Emmanuel – being made known to the world, through the visit of the magi. It also ushers in the dignity of our baptism and our call to be messengers of peace, hope and light. Both great reasons to continue to celebrate Christmas time!
Isaiah 60:1-6 is one of the scriptures ascribed to Epiphany. It is a rich text and reminds us of the light given to us in Christ and the light which we have been entrusted to carry. “Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you” is how this text begins! What a great reminder as we begin this New Year. What a great reminder as we claim again who we are as God’s beloved children. What a great reminder that our God is indeed with us in the chapters of this year just unfolding.
365 opportunities, I was reminded on December 31, to share in God’s love and build the kingdom. Epiphany calls us to see that each one of us hold a treasure. The start of a New Year, even the start of every month is an opportunity for us to evaluate how much we have encountered God’s love and how we have shared the treasure of our light. May we, this year focus on our treasure-light bearing moments as our first reflections each day and each night instead of what was not or the burdens which we face. “Our light has come.” Let us walk in this light today (just as the magi did) and each day of 2021.
In closing for this first reflection of 2021, I share with you the heart-felt prayer of my dear friend and prayer companion Melita. Melita is an amazing child-care provider and continually allows herself to be in wonder and awe of God present. She crafted this prayer in the early part of New Year’s Day, it spoke to me and were the words I was looking for, I know they will be a blessing for you as well.
A Prayer of Reflection and Gratitude
I offer this heart song to you.
Hello New Day! Hello New Year! We’ve been expecting you … waiting for you. We wonder what you might have in store for us. Will you bring more of the same? Suffering, unrest, division, anger, fear? Yes, surely that is to be expected. The world we fell asleep in last night, is the same world that we woke up in this morning.
This morning we are still in a global pandemic. There is suffering due to natural disasters, racial and social injustice, and political corruption abounds … there is evil, violence, prejudice, and hatred throughout the world. Yes, same world … same burdens.
But what you offer, 2021, is a new hope. An opportunity to look at things with a fresh set of eyes, an open heart and helping hands … a new perspective. You offer a promise that as long as there is a new day, we have a chance to begin again.
So, on this New Year morning (in these early days of this New Year) that welcomed me with a spectacular sunrise, urging me to step out and forward into the day, on this glorious morning, I say Thank You!
Thank you, Divine Love, for the year that was …
– For the drive and motivation
– For the Divine Light that led me
– For the upset, pain, stress, that continues to strengthen bonds and carries us forward into new, loving ways of being
– For the incomprehensible, amazing, life changing, enriching spiritual movements that propelled me throughout this year
– For the technology that has kept us all connected during lockdowns
– For front line workers who have sacrificed and endured, and continue to do so, caring for the sick during the pandemic.
– For God’s Divine Love and Presence, ever strengthening, always enduring, and guiding
Thank you 2020, for the Holy Darkness that came and magnified the Light. It brought Love and the hope of a new day. Thank you, for the enduring, everlasting light that continues to bring promise and hope of a new day, into this New Year.
Let us not forget 2020. May we hold in reverence the pain and darkness that was encountered this past year and offer gratitude for the gifts of blessings and goodness that came into light.
Thank you, Glorious God – Loving Creator, Nurturing Mother.
In the name of Jesus, empowered by the Holy Spirit, I pray.
Happy New Year!
May we be brave enough to let the light fill all our days in 2021!
May the star also lead us to the crib of Christ and beyond, enlightening our steps forward.