Epiphany of the Lord

Word Made Flesh (She Who Shoes the Way) by Michelle L Hofer, mixed media collage, 2018

January 6, 2022 Lectionary Texts – Year C
Isaiah 60:1-6
Psalm 72:1-7, 10-14
Ephesians 3:1-12
Matthew 2:1-12


Today we reflect on the Epiphany of Christ. Long is the tradition of celebrating the incarnation of God and his appearance to the Gentiles as represented by the Magi who visit after observing the star and following it to the child.

The art piece I present today is a sister piece to the one shared on Sunday, January 2. Here again I have cut and pasted from copies of German Bible text into this image of the Christ child with his mother. I am using the well-known Vladimir Madonna icon as my pattern for this piece. No other image of Mary and Jesus is so moving, conveying the tender relationship and strong bond between mother and child. It will forever be conjured in my mind when reading the words… “On entering the house, they say the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage. Thank opening their treasure chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.” — Matt. 2:11

Working with text from the opening chapter of John’s gospel:

  • The full page appears in the background
  • Below Christ is text from verse 14: “And the Word became Flesh”
  • Along Mary’s cloak are the words of verse 4: “in him was life, and the life was the light of all people.”

My ancestry is largely German and so using the German text is a connecting point to my heritage. In discussing the January 2nd art piece, Christ Jesus, with my house church group this past Sunday, my father shared how these collages remind him of a time as a boy spending the night with his grandparents. He asked his grandmother if she had anything to read. She handed him his grandpa’s German newspaper. “Do you have anything else?” my father asked unable to read German. She replied the only other option was their German Bible. My grade school taught German classes but I was not much of a success at retaining what I learned there. Working on this collage was a bit challenging in that regard. Thankfully, being able to reference verses in English, I could locate and select the bits of text I wished to feature for the collage.

Being able to translate something that previously made no sense to a new state of understanding and clarity – well that is Epiphany! This God made flesh who came to walk the earth brought immense clarity to who God is… a God now made visible and understandable on human terms. That is reason for much rejoicing my friends!

How about you?

What image takes shape in your mind’s eye when you read the gospel text for today?
What moments of epiphany from your own experience come to mind?
What do you most appreciate about a God who became a human?
What about this image of Mary and Jesus strikes you?

Don’t be shy; don’t be doubtful; lift up your eyes and look around. They have gathered all around you, eager to come and be close to you. And your children will come back to this land: your sons from the farthest places of wandering, and your daughters gently carried home. And when you see it, your face will glow; your heart will race and be filled with joy; For great ships will arrive with gifts from across the sea, and the wealth of nations will make their way to you.

Isaiah 60:4-5

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