Little Christmas…

The feast of Epiphany is often called the feast of Little Christmas. The Incarnation marks the great feast of Christmas where God took flesh and was born in time. Epiphany marks the movement of that revelation to the world at large. It would not serve God, nor humanity, for the birth and life of Jesus to remain unknown, just one more family with a new baby, living in a small, and backwater town.

There is a little poem that caught my attention years ago, that has always been a summary of this feast day and what it invites us to.

When the song of the angels is stilled,
When the star in the sky is gone,
When the Kings and princes are home,
When the shepherds are back with the flocks;
Then the work of Christmas begins:

To find the lost,
To heal the broken
To feed the hungry
To release prisoners
To rebuild the nations
To bring peace among brothers and sisters
To make music in the heart.

The feast of Epiphany is all about the work of Christmas beginning. In many homes, the decorations are down, the trees are recycled or stored away, the ornaments and lights are packed for another season; Christmas music is no longer played, and there is very little left to remind us of Christmas. But before we completely forget this season, and what it means for us, we are invited to celebrate this feast of Christmas beginning – the feast of the Epiphany.

And lest we be seduced, as Herod was, into something less than the proper response to the good news, we’re told in the Scriptures that the heart of the feast is Jesus. It is not the camels, not the long pilgrim’s journey, and not even the gifts that the Magi brought to the child, but Jesus. You see, Jesus did not come to re-main in anonymity. He did not come so that he could retire some day as a carpenter, no matter how good he might have been at that trade. He came that we might know the heart of God. He came to be the revelation of the heart of God. And until everyone on this planet has come to hear of His message, the work of Christmas is not done.