“Arise, shine; for your light has come ….” I hope this one line of Scripture makes you feel like smiling; it certainly makes me smile. In fact, I hope it makes you feel radiant; especially this evening as we have just witnessed the power of light to push aside – to overcome – darkness.
We entered this space quietly, in relative darkness, yet we greeted each other in light and peace in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. As we prayed for light, and candles were lit, that gracious light gradually pushed aside the darkness until we were able to behold not only the nativity scene, but especially the Christ child – the incarnation of God – the source of gracious light.
This tangible demonstration of the power of light is a reminder for us to always appreciate the power of light. After all, it is easy to begin to take light for granted when it is available at the flick of a switch. Thus demonstrations such as this are helpful reminders of the source of light.
So beginning tonight, and for the next seven-plus weeks, our focus will be on this particular appearance of light – this manifestation or appearance of Jesus Christ – not just to his own kind – Palestinian Jews – but to all kinds, even Gentiles like you and me.
Matthew’s lesson tells us of this first, awesome manifestation or revelation to the wise men, those Gentiles from other nations; but it also tells us how the revelation is received by Herod and those in power. While the wise men, or magi, are overwhelmed with joy, Herod and those in power are afraid.
Why these different reactions? Perhaps Herod, amid his concern about his political status, can’t see beyond what he perceives as a possible threat to his status. Yet, the magi, as astrologers – students of celestial light – are open to the wonder and spectacle of it. Perhaps it is a matter of perspective. Are we fearful or are we hopeful – what are we looking for?
What is clear is the powers of the world are not ready for the light that illumines something other than themselves. Yet the people and Gentiles of light are more than ready to follow the light that leads them to something greater than themselves. Happily, this is not the only story of light revealed; the Gospel is full of other stories about the manifestation of light and life. Though there is only one Feast Day of Epiphany, the banquet of light will continue.
The season after Epiphany is more than seven weeks long, and it will be full of other manifestations of God in Jesus Christ. So join us regularly as we search for other encounters of the light of God in Jesus Christ. We will find this light in Scripture; we will find it in prayer; we will find it in Holy Communion and in each of the Sacraments; but we will also find it in each other as we begin to seek the same light as the wise men, and we will begin to see Jesus Christ in each other and in ourselves.
I can assure you this is true because I see his light in and among you. After all, the power of light shall overcome darkness. Therefore, let it be so with you now because we can’t suppress the light forever. “Arise, shine; for your light has come ….”
 Isaiah 60:1