Epiphany: Jesus Appears to Us
In the season of Advent, we waited for Jesus. On Christmas, we celebrated the birth of the One who comes to us. In Epiphany, we orient to the One who is coming to us still.
Click below to celebrate Christ's appearing (Epiphany), to notice Him in the past year (Examen), and to orient your life to His in the year to come (Rule of Life & Word for the Year).
The Lord is with you!
Saturday, Jan 6
"Epiphany" comes from a Greek word meaning "to appear." It is a feast and a season; it honors three "manifesting" moments of Jesus's life: meeting the Magi, being baptized, and performing his first miracle.
Click on the gallery below to explore ways of celebrating the season!
Rule of Life
The New Year is a time of resolution. But before we decide what we want to do, we consider who we want to be.
The Rule of Life helps us name what we value and orient our lives to it. It's not really a to-do list; it's more of a compass, helping us navigate the year ahead. It assists us in making choices with our time, body, energy, and resources that align with our greatest values.
A "Rule of Life" is a tool for naming our values & prioritizing them. We all have values within the Kingdom of God that we hold especially dear. The Rule names and nurtures those, celebrating the unique way God wires us. The Rule originated in monastic communities, and we see lovely examples of it there. The Benedictines orient around hospitality. The Jesuits seek God in all things. Their daily rhythms center on what they value. The Rule helps us name and cultivate what we cherish.
Consider how you want to create your Rule - the process of it. Do you want to complete it now, in one sitting? Or let it grow over days or weeks? Are there people you might include in shaping your Rule? Could family or friends play a role? Imagine what crafting this Rule might look like for you.
As all these practices do, the Rule begins by inviting you to become aware of the loving gaze of God. Allow yourself to pause, just for a moment. Notice your breath. God is with you; He's so pleased to be crafting this Rule with you. Give yourself the gift of a pause, sitting in His loving gaze. Close your eyes, and enjoy Him.
Reflect on the things that matter most to you. Start a list; brain-dump whatever comes to mind without judging it. (The Examen of 2023 can be a useful tool here). Reflect back over your journals, iPhone photos, sermons notes. What values do you see? Let your list grow. Talk to friends and family. Cross out words that don't feel right and add ones that do. Where do you invest your heart, time, energy, and money? What does that say about what matters to you? Ask God what He values for you.
Think about your body and heart - the postures you take toward things. What postures help you lean in to your values? Consider your calendar. Your finances. Your commitments. Are there things that derail or distract from your values? How would you like to position yourself in relation to others? To God?
What practices might help you live out of your values? This is similar to setting resolutions but with one major difference: resolutions can be broken; intentions can only grow. There is freedom to adapt and evolve. So consider what rhythms or practices might help you live out of your values in: -your calendar -your relationships -your body -your material possessions -your vocation -your soul Make a list.
Now it's time to create your Rule! All this takes is the work you've already done, a pen, and some paper. Write down what you have noticed. Your values. Your intentions. There is freedom to be creative. I like to collage my Rule. My husband processes his values as he runs. However you sculpt your Rule, I pray it's a blessing to you. Consider ending with a reading of Psalm 139. You are uniquely made. God delights in you. May your life orient around His constant love. Happy 2024.
You did it! Great work. The Psalmist said to God: "You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore." Rest in these promises, and be at peace.
An Examen of 2024
Click on the gallery below to begin an easy reflection on 2023
Word for the Year
Choosing a word for your year is a simple exercise with lots of space for creativity.
The purpose behind your word for the year can vary. You might choose a word based on:
what you would like to cultivate in your life
what you are asking God for
where you see God moving and would like to join Him
an action, service, or ministry to which you feel called
a fruit of the Spirit to which you are drawn
a Bible verse in which you want to linger
There is no wrong way to pick a word. Simply notice which one of points above stands out.
Then, begin to play! Think of songs or images that draw you. Pay attention to your longings. Discuss your ideas with friends. Collage or draw. Look at your church notes or Bible highlights or journal pages. Are you seeing any themes?
Now make a giant list! Don't censor yourself. Just brain-dump any words, phrases, ideas, or quotes that resonate.
Finally, the best part. Invite Jesus to join you. Pause. Orient to His constant, loving presence. Let yourself grow still.
In the quiet, take a moment to listen. What does He have to say?
Don't worry if you don't land on a word right away; the point of this exercise is more to meet with God than it is to pick the perfect word.
But as your heart orients to Him in prayer, notice what stands out. And when you're ready - after a few minutes or a few weeks - choose your word or phrase.
Share it with friends. Play with it. Tweak it. Let it take up some space in your Rule of Life.
My prayer is that as your year progresses, the Word serves as magnifying glass - bringing God's movement into sharper focus.
"I’m learning to love the ground that lies
beneath my feet in the fallow season
the ground of the dormant, of sleeping life
that carries no promise of certain production
the ground of the nourished, fed by the death
of the things that once bloomed
the ground of the passive, that simply receives
the rains of the fall and the rest of winter
the ground that cannot be measured
by the brightness of green breaking the rows
or the richness of fruits that fall from the vines
or the service it pays to some greater end
but holds its value in the simple act
of embracing its wild and wonderful being.”