The word epiphany is derived from a Greek word meaning “to manifest, to display, to come suddenly into view,” which in turn is thought to have come from an ancient Indo-European root meaning “to shine.”1 For me, it conjures up images of sudden revelation — a break in the clouds, a beam of starlight, a flash of understanding.
Epiphany is also January 6th, the feast of the Three Wise Men. The Wise Men were not Jews. They were not even from Israel. Yet the Lord sent them His star, and when they found the Child, “they fell down and worshipped him.”2 Thus Epiphany is celebrated as Christ’s manifestation to the Gentiles, for He is the Savior of all people everywhere, of all races and nations.
Epiphany was two days ago now, but with the Wise Men’s gifts in mind, here is a gift for you: a poem I wrote while contemplating the mystery of the Incarnation. Enjoy!
You Came Slow
You could have come with thunderstroke, With lightning-spikéd wheel-spoke, With cracking whip and blasting horn, On cloud-enshrouded wings of storm. You could have come with cyclone-speed That rips away the roots of trees, As quick as wind, as fierce as snow, But you came slow. You could have come with eyes of fire As bright as sun, as sharp as wire. You could have come with light so bright It beat us down and smote our sight. You could have laid the mountains low, So large you crushed us with your toe. You could have been titanic-tall, But you were small. You could have come with righteous wrath, Destroying all within your path, To smite us sinners, stained, disgraced, So undeserving of your grace. You could have come with sword unsheathed And atom-power all unleashed, With hammer falling from aloft, But you were soft.3
Hope your 2022 is filled with joy and light! May new aspects of Christ’s truth flash suddenly into view!
- The Holy Bible, Matthew 2:11, RSV
- First published in the Christmas 2021 issue of Lily May’s Salutis Magazine.
Image Credit: detail from a Biblical Magi stained glass window, circa 1896