Just Like a Snowflake

© Julie Falk. Used under Creative Commons License

© Julie Falk. Used under Creative Commons License

This week we reach the mid-point of Epiphany, and this morning two of my boys and I had a fitting conversation on the way to school. First, I will backtrack.

We started off Ephiphany in early January talking about Jesus, the Light of the World. This season of Epiphany (between Christmastide and Lent) is focused on just that–Jesus revealed to us as Savior, Messiah, Light of the World. And as we have basked in the glow of Jesus during this season, we have also considered how he calls us to let our light shine before others. Our family has prayed many prayers thanking Jesus for being the Light and asking him to shine his light in our lives. I wrote a blog about how we even entered into discussions of Jesus, the Light, with our neighbors one night.

The family and neighbor time has been meaningful, though devotional. We don’t often know how the talk will translate into the rest of life. And then last week my 8-year-old came home from school with a paper from Bible class asking what he could do to help another who was hurting. His answer, in a 3rd grader’s block print, was to

“share the light with them.”

And then this morning on the way to school, after a weekend of Colorado snow and cold, this same 8-year-old asks, “Mom, why does the snow sparkle?”

“Well, snowflakes are little ice crystals, and when light shines on water or ice it reflects back to us and sparkles.”

And then Derrin’s response, “Why  doesn’t dirty snow sparkle?”

Hmmm… Teaching moment appears, despite early morning and a Monday. “Dirt fills up the snowflake so that light can’t shine through it. It’s kind of like sin, huh? When we’re filled with sin we can’t shine Jesus’ light. But when Jesus’ life is living in us it clears away the dirt so that we can shine just like a clean snowflake. ”

The car gets quiet and we ride alongside banks of clean, sparkling snow and also dull, dirty roadside slush.  I think about how God brings truth to life again and again in our lives. His Word is living and active–with a house full of people of many ages and backgrounds, at a 3rd grader’s desk, in a car on an almost-tardy morning. And God lives through his Word, through Jesus’ life in us, differently every time and for each person. Kind of like a snowflake. No two are the same. Every time, every one, new and unique.

An Epiphany of shining moments.  An Epiphany of Light.

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Epiphany

Epiphany! I love Epiphany! I love to say epiphany… I love to hear my people say epiphany… I love what it means and when it is in the year.  According to Merriam-Webster, Epiphany means a moment in which you suddenly see or understand something in a new or very clear way; an intuitive grasp of reality through something usually simple and striking;  an illuminating discovery, realization, or disclosure. I love that it is usually through something simple that God uses to illuminate new things to me. I look for epiphanies always! I started this when Mike used to prune in the orchard and his goal in this very mundane, tedious job was to think of something that he had never thought of before.  That was an epiphany to me! To intentionally think of something that I had never thought of.  Now as I get older and my kids and business take up so much of my time and energy this becomes more difficult… but I still love the idea.  I love nature and sense God’s presence more in the outdoors than anywhere else.  I can see His creativity, His humor, His forgiveness, His steadfastness in things that grow or are a natural part of our earth. I can be an epiphany just stepping outside if I am aware! I always wonder “How did I not see that before?”

At the beginning of this season we asked what we feel like God is showing each of us. What is our “epiphany” of the season. Kadin in all his 4 year old innocence says his is that God loves him. This is a child that will probably not have insecurity issues. He is a show stopper! He will be the one that “everyone likes” and will not know the wonder if he is loved. However I do pray that this is a constant epiphany to him in his life as he remembers that GOD LOVES HIM! and now he can love the world with the overflow of that love.

Quinn says that his is that God is/will help him with his schoolwork. This is exactly what he needs right now! Quinn struggles so much! His disability is called Auditory Neuropathy…where he hears things ok but it all gets jumbles when it goes to his brain. His actual ear drum is loose, not tight, so the sounds don’t even sound right. If he is sensing that God is with him in this struggle than he is far ahead in the kingdom of God!

Isabella says off handedly that God is showing her “to be happy!” My first thought is ggrrr… she didn’t even think about it! Then I read Act 13:52 and it talks of Paul and Barnabus “brimming with joy and the Holy Spirit…they were happy disciples.” WOW! This girl is powerful! She could literally boss CEOs around and yet she has made some mistakes in the past couple years that I fear she will let hold her back. And then God grabs hold of her heart and whispers to her “Be Happy! Move beyond past choices and be happy.”

Mike’s been meditating on a prayer/Psalm that says “Fight those that fight me, Attack those who attack me. Tell my soul that ‘I am’ your salvation.” He is remembering that worry and fret and stress only cause more worry, fret and stress. That God is bigger than all of this! This is his heavenly battle and Jesus is telling him “I am” and that’s all he needs.

Mine is just that life happens! Sometimes it is pretty and sometimes it isn’t but if I will have eyes to see I will see Him in every situation. I have always tried to live for Christ and I thought that I could have a perfect life. HAHA… yeah right! The only times that I have been able to minister the word of life to another is through my painful situations. HOLY MOLY! What an epiphany that was!

Basically, each of my people’s epiphanies are an epiphany to me! How great is that of God… I had 5 just thinking about this post. Plus if I am looking, I have an epiphany daily/weekly/monthly/yearly.  That is why I love this season… because it reminds me to look!

Epiphany: a sudden and striking realization

Epiphany:  An experience of sudden and striking realization; a new and profound understanding that takes an individual to a deeper understanding of a situation.  An “a-ha moment” of the highest order. But, more importantly, to a Christian, Epiphany is the season in which we embrace the newly born child who came to Earth as our Savior.  He was, and remains, a gift.

Teaching my girls about Epiphany led me to a personal epiphany. This time, between the joy of Christmastide and the personal reflection of Lent, has so often gotten lost in the waiting for a time of celebration.  What my family missed is the fullness of knowing why Jesus came.

Ask any child who has been raised in church “why did Jesus come to Earth?” and the answer will undoubtedly be “to die for us and forgive our sin”.  This is true, but only partially.  The magnitude of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross is not lost on me.  On the contrary, each year his death and resurrection is revealed to me in new and fresh ways, increasing my understanding and my love for Him.  What I missed in the scope of that amazing and beautiful picture of surrender to God’s will is that Jesus’ first purpose in coming to Earth wrapped in flesh was so that we could be grafted onto the family tree of God, that we would be made fully aware of our status as fully loved and treasured children of the One True King.

When the Magi made the great journey to see the Christ child, it was not because they had been awaiting the arrival of the Jewish Messiah.  The Magi were not of Jewish descent.  And yet, God revealed the grandeur of this simple Bethlehem birth to them.  And so they came.  They learned who this child was because they stepped out and took the first step of a very long journey.  And God welcomed them.  He lit their way with a bright and beautiful beacon that said “this is my son…and he is here for you.”

With God there is no picking and choosing.  No one is left sitting on the sidelines waiting for the call to join a team that never comes.  No one is left trying to figure out where they fit in or trying to act as though they don’t mind being picked last again.  He accepts all races, all colors with no regard to age, socio-economic or (quite important to my family) developmental boundaries.  He loves us and accepts us because He made us.  We are, literally, His.  And all we have to do is accept the gift.

And so, in this beautiful season, I have had a sudden and striking realization.  My Lord is the ultimate inclusionist  (is that a real word?  It is for me!)  He will seek us across oceans and boundaries of our own making.  He will pursue us to the absolute depths to bring us home.  He knows the heart of those who express their love and pain to Him with unending words.  But He also knows the hearts of those whose words are hindered and for whom pain can only be expressed in cries and for whom praise can only spill out in dances of sheer joy.  He knows who the words and the songs are for.  They are for Him.  Because…we are His.   All of us.  Children of the One True King.  The recipients of the first Christmas gift.