If you’ve never seen the Robin Williams/Dustin Hoffman awesomeness that is Hook, track it down and watch it. Laugh uproariously when the truly wonderful Bob Hoskins says the above line.
What he means is “epiphany,” which is “a moment of sudden revelation or insight.” It’s also a Christian holiday that falls on this coming Tuesday and officially ends the Christmas season. (That’s right, technically we’re still in Christmas—that’s where the 12 Days of Christmas concept comes in, because Epiphany falls 12 days after the holiday proper. Take that argument to your altar guild when they want to take down the poinsettias before the first of the year, hah.)
Epiphany is definitely one of the secondary holidays of the Church year with some murky beginnings (you can look them over at the Catholic Encyclopedia, where the answer “we don’t really know” is given in some of the best scholastic jargon around). This may be because the Eastern and Western churches have had, shall we say, a rocky relationship and Rome wasn’t all that keen on borrowing “Eastern” holidays, or it may be because it took so long for anyone to figure out exactly what the point of the holiday was. (Man, I love church history.) The long and short of it, though, is that this is now considered the day when the Magi get to reach the nativities in living rooms all over the world (except mine, because I never got around to setting mine up this year—for shame, I know) and Jesus and the Gentiles (represented by the terribly not-Jewish Magi) hang out and introduce themselves.
I don’t know how “sudden” 12 days is, but this is the revelation: hey everybody, this Kid’s for you.
As a Gentile, I’m pretty happy about that. (I think there may actually be some Jewish blood several generations back, but once we got to the States, the families pretty much agreed never to speak of Ye Olde Eurasia Land.) So this holiday, beyond allowing me to switch the altar cloth from blue/purple to white/gold, gives me an entrance ticket to the possibilities of this Kingdom ushered in by this Baby we just spent four weeks preparing for.
I’m relatively new to this holiday, despite having grown up with Catholicism in the mix of denominations around the house(s), but I like the idea. I like that we have Christmas, on which the outrageous scandal of a God born as a human baby happens, and then we have this next holiday on which we get to focus on the outrageous scandal of that baby God having been born for everybody. The nativity, once the Magi have arrived with their mostly useless but fancy presents, represents the fact that this new Kingdom ushered in by this crazy God is for all—Joseph of David’s line for the hardcore Jews, Mary for the womenfolk, the Magi for the non-Jewish humans, the shepherds for the lower classes, the animals for the whole of creation, all gather to marvel at this new mewling boy that will somehow change the world.
Talk about faith.
But we, in the 21st century, get to know that He did change the world. Whether you believe all the things people say about Jesus or not, you have to admit He did pretty much shake things up; the West would not be the West without the general concept of Him. (And in some ways that might be better, to be honest, but that’s because we’re human and we suck at interpretation and kindness sometimes.)
So Epiphany falls on a Tuesday this year, which is a pretty unremarkable day in my life. I know friends of mine will be having choir rehearsal, and maybe some other friends will be gathering for games, and we’ll all of us be going to work, and hopefully I will bully myself into doing the dishes that are probably soon going to gain sentience in my kitchen. Mundane—but then, this thing of which we’re mindful was a baby born in a stable; perhaps not mundane, but most definitely unremarkable.
Except that God makes even the most unremarkable things remarkable, if He has a mind to. So, on Tuesday, take a minute to find the amazing parts of your life. If you’re into the God-thing, find the God in your life, or in yourself. If you’re not so much down with that, just find the moments where you can stop and say, “Damn. This life thing is kind of incredible.” Let me know about it; I’d love to hear where that happens for you. I’d love to hear your epiphanies, Reader.
And your apostrophes.
And [the wise men], having heard the king, went their way; and lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was. And when they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. And they came into the house and saw the young child with Mary his mother; and they fell down and worshiped him; and opening their treasures they offered unto him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh. (Matthew 2:9-11, ASV)