In Exodus 13 God speaks to Israel with the following commands:
• Sanctify all their first-born to Him.
• Remember their deliverance out of Egypt and in so doing, remember to keep the feast of unleavened bread.
• Transmit this knowledge to their children.
• Set apart to God the firstlings of their cattle and explain that also to their children.
The word epiphany comes from the Greek word, epiphania, which denotes the visit of a god to earth, the manifestation of Christ as the son of God. We recognize God’s first-born and see him as the king that he is. The darkness of Advent gives way to the light of Christmas, seen dimly by the few that were gathered around the manger. But in Epiphany, the light shines forth brightly to all nations. Wise men from the East, following the star, return to the Orient and share what they have witnessed. So, just as the Israelites were freed from the captivity of their slavery in Egypt, we and all nations are freed from sin by Jesus’ birth. The light bursts forth!
This gift that we were given at Christmas, the gift that shines forth at Epiphany, comes with certain expectations of us. The Exodus passage encourages us to to remember these miracles and share them with our children. Further, we are to remember during participation in the Lord’s supper, just as the Israelites were commanded, that God sacrificed his first and only Son for our salvation. It is because of that precious body and blood that we dedicate our lives to serving God.
By sharing the good news made manifest to us at Epiphany we fulfill the commands spoken of in the Exodus passage. We commit ourselves to a life dedicated to the one who paid the price to redeem not only us, but all the nations of the world. Just as the Israelites were delivered out of slavery, and just as the wise men followed the light of the star, we too, go out in the world, carrying the light of Christ.
Heavenly Father, thank you for sending your Son for our redemption. Guide us to live and love like Jesus as we share this Good News with others.
In His Holy Name…Amen
Mary Jo Frey