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David Otten: The light shines at Epiphany

By David Otten
Contributing writer
updated: 1/9/2019 12:03 PM

Greetings from Faith Lutheran Church.

We are in the season of Epiphany. This is a season which began Sunday, Jan. 6 with the celebration of the Magi arriving at Bethlehem to worship the baby Jesus. The Star of Bethlehem showed its light and guided the Magi to the Babe of Bethlehem, the light of the world.

We also heard of Herod who wished to murder the Christ child to put out the light, but God prevailed. The season will follow with Christ's baptism, miracles and teachings manifesting Jesus as the Christ.

Jesus means "savior," and Christ means the "anointed one" or "chosen." The Star, the gifts of the Magi, and the events to come show forth who Jesus is and the purpose for which He came into the world.

St. John wrote in his Gospel, "These things are written that you may believe." No doubt as the church celebrates Christ through the year it preaches and teaches about Christ with an emphasis that you may believe, but Epiphany may be more in tune with that goal. All the Gospel writers wrote to strengthen the faith of those who heard the Gospel and clung to Jesus in faith. Early Christians heard the Gospels read in worship services. These stories of Christ answered questions and challenges they had concerning Jesus and the gospel message.

The account of the star and the Magi proclaimed that the prophesies of God reaching out to the gentiles (non-Jewish people) was fulfilled. It continues to be fulfilled as missionaries, pastors and Christian teachers proclaim the gospel to gentiles around the globe. As God caused the star to rise in the east it demonstrated God's cares for all and that He sent his Christ for all. Thus, Epiphany can be called the "Gentiles' Christmas," while Dec. 25 is called the "Jewish Christmas" as only Jewish shepherds were there to worship and adore the Christ child.

We can rejoice that God inspired the apostles and the evangelist to record the accounts of Christ's life so that we too may adore Him and find answers to many questions we have. The Gospels are not classified as apologetic writings but "kerygma," or teachings. Creating faith is always the job of the Holy Spirit.

Christians should never think we can argue someone into belief. We point people to His word, live our life according to it and let the Spirit move hearts and minds that they too can say, "I believe, Jesus is Lord!"

The epiphany stories of Christ give us our own epiphanies. The light shines in our life and we see and believe. May this Epiphany season be a time were the light of Christ may shine daily as you live your life in Christ.

• David Otten is pastor of Faith Lutheran Church in Eldorado.