Epiphany: Welcoming Wonder

Thank you for observing the Advent/Christmas season with A Moving Yarn! As we enter a new calendar year, we also celebrate the beginning of a new season: not just a day, but a season of wonder, the liturgical season of Epiphany. It begins on the 12th day of Christmas, January 6, when we remember the arrival of the Magi with their gifts for the baby Jesus.

May this new year bring light, understanding, and holy imagination. May it inspire us to follow surprising stars, take unexpected routes, and welcome—and be welcomed by—Christ, in all the ways he comes into our lives.


Isaiah 60:1-6
Lift up your eyes and look all around:
they are all gathered; they have come to you.
Your sons will come from far away,
and your daughters on caregivers’ hips.
Then you will see and be radiant;
your heart will tremble and open wide.

Psalm 72:1-7, 10-14

Ephesians 3:1-12

Matthew 2:1-12
When they heard the king, they went; and look, the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stood over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were filled with joy. They entered the house and saw the child with Mary his mother. Falling to their knees, they honored him.

Add a thank you card to your sacred space… or write a thank you note to someone who has helped you welcome in hope, peace, joy, and love this season. You may even write it to God.

The magi’s gifts may have inspired the tradition of Christmas gift-giving, but by the time we observe their arrival on Epiphany, the Twelfth Day of Christmas, most of us have already given and received (and possibly returned and exchanged) most of the season’s presents. We’ve had the waiting weeks of Advent, the jolly days of Christmas-ing, and now we’ve rounded the bend of the new year. We’re winding down from the holiday season, and settling back into normal life—whatever that is.

Then—now—in the middle of all the humdrum, return-to-normal stuff, the magi show up, reminding us that this story is just beginning. The Light has come, and is still shining, leading us to unexpected places where unexpected hosts wait to welcome us.

This is the epiphany, the revelation: that when we open our doors to guests and treat them as Christ, we will always be surprised by who we find ourselves welcoming. And when we go journeying, following God’s guiding Light, we will always be surprised by who is waiting to receive us. Christ is the guest who comes to us, and Christ is the host whose door never closes.

What can we say but: Thank you.

For all that has been:
for the uncovering of truths that caused pain
but taught us what we really believe

for the fracturing of relationships that broke our hearts
but opened us to true community

for the upending of our schedules,
the disruption of our rhythms,
that showed us who are our neighbors
and prompted us to care

for all the surprises of this life,
and for all the unexpected welcomes given and received

Thank you.

And for the days ahead:
for the restoration of our souls,
for the regeneration of our communities,
for the renewal of our promises to one another;
for every truth yet to come to light,
every heart yet to break,
every neighbor yet unknown,
every door yet to open,

Yes, and amen.

For all that has been—thanks. For all that shall be—yes.

Dag Hammarskjöld
Christmas Morn, by Will H. Low, 1908. In the collection of the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

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