Happy Epiphany everyone. Just before Christmas I was wandering around Dursley, as you do, and came across a lovely little fair-trade shop from where I purchased a wooden tradecraft nativity set. I have never had one in the house; they are either cringy or ostentatious. This is neither, in my view.
The year to come promises to be eventful in the life of our little church at Trendlewood. There are many words and prophecies about the future (idiot Tilley, prophecies about the past would be a sight easier) which are all unerringly positive.
In fact I am so surrounded by people sharing things God has been telling them (I love the way he never seems to tell me) that I feel as if I am wandering through a giant allegory at the moment. Yesterday I heard of someone in our parish called Mary who was pondering the significance of the appearance of an angel to one of her relatives. No really. I couldn't make this stuff up.
But today is Epiphany and, since someone has already asked and doubtless others will, it means appearing, appearance or coming. It is Greek in origin, from two Greek words. Epi = to; phainein = to show (source, Chambers etymological English dictionary).
Today the term comes to mean the '...sudden realization or comprehension of the (larger) essence or meaning of something' (Wikipedia). This was indeed what the Gospel writers wanted to say about Jesus; that there was a moment when both the poor (shepherds) and the wealthy (magi) comprehended the significance.
I wrote about this last year when I was obviously feeling a little more aggressive. How time mellows us?
Today it was a joy to move the magi over and place them in the scene, notwithstanding the clear biblical material that says they visited Jesus in a house, not a stable. By the way Jesus stabilised the world. Ever noticed that? Hope this year you get wise to it.