How the Epiphany Allows Us to See God Revealed in Our Own Lives

An epiphany is God revealed to us.

Bartolomé Murillo, "The Adoration of the Magi," 1655-1660
Bartolomé Murillo, "The Adoration of the Magi," 1655-1660 (photo: Public Domain)

If I close my eyes, I can see my childhood in clips, much like scenes from a movie. Looking back at the Christmas season, I can still see the nativity scene in my childhood home, next to the fireplace and steps away from the Christmas tree. 

I can almost smell the aroma of kelacha, our traditional Chaldean Christmas cookies that filled the house. As immigrants from Iraq, my parents combined traditional Chaldean traditions with those adopted from America. So, the stockings hung over the fireplace, and we waited for Baba Noel (Santa Claus), but our Chaldean dishes were the focal point. 

What seemed different from my fellow Americans was that my family never took down our decorations until after Jan. 6 – or as my dad would say, after Denha Day. I didn’t realize that Denha Day was an actual holiday until I got older.  

I was looking at the Chaldean Liturgical Calendar one day and there on Jan. 6 read Denha Day. My Last name in Aramaic means “Epiphany.”

Epiphany celebrates the revelation of God incarnate as Jesus Christ. It is the feast that commemorates the visit of the Magi to the Christ Child, and thus Jesus' physical manifestation.

An epiphany is God revealed to us. As we build that relationship with Christ, these epiphany moments are realized, we have these “aha” moments when God reveals truth to us.

One pivotal epiphany for me is when I realized that God gave me specific talents to bring others to him. We are all born with God-given talents. We are all blessed with charisms upon our baptisms. Acknowledging my talents and charisms was God shining one of the biggest lights on my life. I realized I had a purpose. We all have these gifts in us. We all have a purpose.

Looking back at my childhood, I had another epiphany moment – that it wasn’t the actual decorations my dad didn’t want taken down. He didn’t care so much about the tree or the stockings. It was the nativity scene. The focus was on Jesus and his real birth – the Epiphany – God Revealed. 

Each of us has a story to tell. We can all look back at our lives and see one epiphany moment after another. They are interwoven throughout my childhood. They were faith seeds that were planted and grew as I did. God guides us throughout our lives if we invite him to do so. God is revealed to us in Sacred Scripture; the stories can be seen as one epiphany moment after another. God revealed himself in the Old Testament as he made covenants with his people. Jesus is the New Covenant and through him we witness the true Epiphany. The ultimate Epiphany is when we encounter Christ. 

My encounter with Christ truly came when I surrendered and the “aha” moment for me was when I realized that when I actually let go, God actually took over.  

Inviting Christ into your home, reading Scripture, surrendering to God and using your charisms can lead you to epiphany moments. As we celebrate the Epiphany of our Lord, let’s reflect on our epiphany moments when God is revealed to us.

Ivan Aivazovsky, “Walking on Water,” ca. 1890

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