The Presents Arrive: – What is it exactly?

End of Christmas? Christmas Two – ‘the forgotten presents’. The fashionably late join the party. Well no not really for unlike the birth of Jesus, the epiphany is not a moment in time, but a moment of clarity. For those who like etymology – you’ll be pleased to know that clarity shares it’s Latin root (Clarus = Clear) with claret – the fine red wine most often associated with Bordeaux. I don’t recall claret often leading to moments of clarity – however such is our language. But what of the Epiphany moment, the great revelation? Have you ever opened a present and then wondered what on earth it is for, or where on earth you are going to display whatever ‘it’ is? Only sooner or later to realise that it is something totally different to what you thought you had been given in the first place and so you end up placing a complicated sculpture in a display case only to find out that it was a corkscrew, bottle opener or lighter. It sits there tempting you to wonder what it is for, but doesn’t reveal its secret until someone shows you how. Epiphany is a bit like that. Here is Christ revealed for all – yes even in the child Jesus. But what exactly is being revealed – for there are so many revelations – which image of Christ do we take notice of most often, and which are we going to take notice of this epiphany? Is it perhaps Christ the First Born of all Creation, or Christ the Messiah – the Chosen one. Perhaps the Lord of the Earth or the Prince of Heaven, even High King of Heaven. Christ the Paschal Lamb the sacrifice for us. Christ the Incarnate One. Christ the reconciler. Christ the Lord of Life and Death. Christ the first raised from the dead. Christ the Prince of peace. Christ our light. The list could go on. One or more of these have been emphasised by the many and various denominations of Christians that exist. The problem for us is that the bible doesn’t always make it obvious that the Christ is a larger category than Jesus. Jesus is the human one born of Mary who embodies the Christ who is all of the definitions above and more. Christ and Jesus are put together so often that Christ becomes the second name of Jesus and we lose the power of the name – we forget that Christ is a higher category and we allow ourselves to equate Christ with Jesus the baby in manger who never makes it out of the stable in our minds. And so the epiphany is the moment of awakening. This is who Jesus embodies. It is the Christ the First Born of all Creation, Christ the Messiah – the Chosen one. the Lord of the Earth, the Prince of Heaven, High King of Heaven. The Paschal Lamb the sacrifice for us. The Incarnate One. The reconciler. The Lord of Life and Death. The first raised from the dead. The Prince of peace. Christ our light. And if you are anything like me, you’ll spend the rest of life still figuring it all out.