The season of Epiphany draws to an early close this year with Ash Wednesday slated for February 14 (the imposition of ashes will make for a unique and unforgettable valentines date!).In the Christian calendar, February 2nd is the presentation of Jesus at the Temple, and is also called Candlemas. In worship, this Sunday, we will bless all the new candles purchased for the coming year. The nativity scene will also be removed along with the star that has adorned the sanctuary since Christmas. These symbols and festivals in the church calendar transform each year from the passing of days and months to the keeping of holy remembrances and timeless belonging.

Today, I was treated to three gifts of the light of Epiphany: physical incarnations of God’s grace and beauty. They were in the attitudes and actions of three women: two of whom are recovering from debilitating accident and disease and one who was present and available in a desperate time of need. Each in their own way shined a light of irrepressible hope and thanksgiving. Each in their own way spoke of how fortunate they were. Each of them were physical manifestations of God’s goodness and grace. Each of them filled with a vibrant zest for living illuminating my winter-worn soul.

Their attitudes in the midst of difficulty shined the light of epiphany upon my own state of mind. The contrast was evident but not without impact. In the words of the psalmist, “Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.”

As winter tarries along with the long nights of darkness, may the lights of epiphany illumine your path to lift your soul and fill your heart with thanksgiving for the gift of simply being here, now.