The holidays are, as their name suggests, meant to be "holy" times of contemplation, of fellowship, of renewing existing relationships and establishing new ones.

What often happens instead is that they are fragmented, rife with busyness, with doing and going and rushing without time to stop and connect to Spirit.

Epiphany is that time for me.

According to the Bible story, the Wise Men, the Three Kings, the astrologers, whatever they are called, were drawn to find the baby Jesus and had an "epiphany" about him - that he was (incredibly!) the Savior that had been foretold by the prophets. He was the missing piece to our connection to God. Our distance from God exists, according to the Bible, because God is complete Love, something we have great difficulty understanding. We become confused by things that don't matter, by things that aren't real, because of our human limitations. Though there are different views about why Jesus had to give his life for ours, and was apparently resurrected after death, and what exactly all of that means, what is widely accepted is that Jesus had a special gift to penetrate these human misunderstandings and speak clearly, honestly, and with loving compassion from an early age. His humility and nonjudgment is the subject of many stories, and his defense of those who were socially outcast is legendary.

To accept that there is help available for each of us is a difficult premise, especially if you have endured unexplained or sustained suffering. None of us is constantly connected to Spirit, though we might earnestly seek that connection each day. Perhaps Epiphany might be viewed as the opportunity to slow down and consider how God shows up within our hearts, ready to be reborn each day, and how Jesus's teachings and wisdom help us understand how to receive that holy presence, how to allow it to move through us to reach others, how that movement leaves grace like a patina within us, blessing our lives, informing our thoughts and actions, renewing and restoring us when we least expect and most need it. When we are quiet and consciously decide to receive this abundant divine love, a "peace that transcends all understanding" is ours. We might still be skeptical on some level, but giving Spirit a chance to give you something you need on a molecular level is indeed miraculous.

I don't know why it is, I only know that it is, and the more I allow it to happen, the more I am transformed into a peace-filled being.

Shalom.