It was an out-of-body experience, witnessing my 3-year-old daughter Hannah make her debut performance in our children’s Christmas musical. I became “that parent,” fawning over the cuteness of my kid on stage. As she took a well-rehearsed bow, I realized it was a big moment for us and Hannah I’ll never forget.
Beginning a new year can makes us mindful of past or upcoming moments in life. Birthdays, graduations, job changes–even the loss of loved ones.
During the next five weeks in gathered worship our church will observe a little season of the church calendar sandwiched between Christmas and Lent. This season, called Epiphany, provides an opportunity to experience some of the big moments in the life of our Lord Jesus: his visit from the Magi (Three Kings), his baptism, his first miracle, his first sermon, and his transfiguration.
As I’m writing this article my wife is watching a distractingly good movie about Marie Heurtin, an unruly deaf and blind teenage girl who learned to communicate through words from a persistent nun in a French convent in the late 1800s. After a day-long wrestling match of an attempt to brush Marie’s hair, the nun has a breakthrough moment with her student and the pair make a turn toward progress. While the story is full of life-changing moments for both women, it would be easy to write off the scenes depicted as inconsequential if I wasn’t paying attention. The most important moments are mundane–bathing, eating, touching ordinary objects–but full of beauty and power as Marie is liberated from her isolation by learning to use sign language to communicate.
Marie later celebrates that her teacher gave her dark and silent existence the profound gift of “words." Her expression immediately reminded me of the fourth Gospel account's verse that famously describes the gift of Jesus Christ: “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.” (John 1:14 NIV) The miraculous gift of Christmas is that God filled our mundane human lives with transcendent glory by becoming one of us–one who breathed, ate, got sick, walked, slept, and even died. Consequently, every moment we live is a big moment, pregnant with God’s glorious presence. During Epiphany, we let this mind-blowing new reality sink in as we witness Jesus’ big moments.
I am especially excited about January 10, this year's Baptism of the Lord Sunday. Not only will our District Superintendent Rev. Sherill Clontz join us to lead in our service of Word and Table, but the Headley family will share a big moment with our Weaver church family as we baptize our two oldest children, Hannah and Noah. We’re looking forward to witnessing God’s grace in action with you!
May you encounter God in all your moments this year. As always, it is an honor share them with you!