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The joy of our becoming

by davesandel on January 3rd, 2021

Sunday, January 3, 2021                    (today’s lectionary)

The Epiphany of the Lord and The Tenth Day of Christmas

The joy of our becoming

Rise up in splendor, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord shines round about you. Darkness covers the earth, but upon you the Lord shines, and over you appears his glory.

And it’s no wonder 28 locations around the world are named Bethlehem, including two in Israel itself. Why not catch onto the glory of Jesus’ manger, Jesus’ birth?

When our grandson Jasper was born a year and a half ago, I drove south through Jasper, Texas and took pictures of Jasper’s name plastered all over everything. On the way home I could have driven through Bethlehem, Texas 75645, home of the four-cross-marked Open Cowboy Range Church and not much else. Jasper is 261 miles from Austin and Bethlehem 264 miles. Jasper is born. Jesus is born. Joy to the world, the Lord is come.

So you shall be radiant at what you see, and your heart will throb and overflow.

We visited the Calverts in Dripping Springs yesterday. We discovered great ribs, sausage, and brisket gumbo at The Switch. Dripping Springs is not only famous for Willie Nelson’s 4th of July concert every year, but for every kind of brewery, distillery and winery you can imagine. Back home we watched a reprise of 100 episodes of the Daytripper, hosted by a wild-eyed, fun-loving guy named Chet whose show never travels further than a day away from Austin.

We’ve known Brian and Cheryl Calvert over thirty years, since we were U of Illinois campus ministers. We traveled to Mexico and Colorado on mission trips, I baptized Cheryl, Brian helped us put a new roof on our old house when we moved to Urbana, and over the years we’ve seen some of the excitement of their five kids growing up. Yesterday we talked about the joy of what Andi in her blog called “active loving and serving” in the name of Jesus.

Let justice flower, and profound peace, till the moon be no more. The Lord will rule from sea to sea. All kings shall serve him, and he shall rescue the poor when they cry out.

Two days ago, Cheryl invited women in her neighborhood to join her for a loving and serving Bible group. Already she has one taker, and will have more, and she’s excited. She’s done this with her kids, but stretching past her family is new to her. She’s ready. You could see her face bloom with joy as she talked about it.

I’ve been captured by images of Epiphany since I began writing these devotions over twenty years ago. Epiphany … the feast of the magi … an inspired moment of vision which transcends our ordinary reality … the parties on Twelfth Night … twelve drummers drumming! And always, in the eyes of those who have been touched by God, the joy of their becoming. In all things, we worship you, Baby Jesus. We bring you gifts. We watch you grow. We follow you, and we weep when you heal us and still are killed.

The Star preceded the magi from the east until it came and stopped over the place where the child was. Overjoyed, these wise men found Jesus with Mary his mother and fell down in worship. They offered him gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh and soon after departed in secret for their home country.

And in the very early morning of the Third Day you returned to us, your body healed of death. We too are brought to life, as you, Jesus, open wide once again the gates of Eden. The feast of the epiphany carries all this and much more, so today we celebrate!

(Isaiah 60, Psalm 72, Ephesians 3, Matthew 2)

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One Comment
  1. Cheryl permalink

    Dave,
    It was so good to see you and Margaret. We are always blessed by your visits. Also, I now have eight women who want to join the neighborhood discipleship/Bible study group. God is abundant.

    Cheryl

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