In high school, somewhere around the time I began to expand my vocabulary, realize the power of words – and prep for the SATs? – I came to love the word epiphany.
This phenomenon also coincided with my own spiritual awakening, but ironically, it had little or nothing to do with the three wise men heralding Jesus’ birth.
I would excitedly proclaim I’d had an epiphany when some amazing truth would whack me between the eyes. An amazing idea or affirmation. When the whoosh of a flock of shorebirds made my heart swell with the certainty of who I was as I stood sentinel on a sandbar.
As life rushed in to fill the free spaces, however, the epiphanies got fewer and fewer – until at some low point, they stopped. A noisy, dissonant place where even the chorus of bird calls could not be heard.
And yet, I still maintain our Christmas tree until January 6th. I still display Jesus and His cast of adorers in the creche. I try, I try to push back the doing, the speaking, the thinking – to open space for His coming.
And in short bursts, He has. I’ve opened windows just small enough for a spark to shoot through. A movement in a certain direction. A push toward a way of being.
I want the lightning bolt, but it can’t strike as readily under all this stuff. The circuit is closed. A spark will have to do. But great flames can burst forth from a tiny spark. And purify everything in their path.