Christmas to Epiphany

When the Twelve Days of Christmas are over, the gift-giving is supposed to be over as well. Twelve drummers drumming, and then that’s it.

But as the Church transitions from Christmas to Epiphany and those twelve traditional days of presents draw to a close, God’s generous, gift-giving spirit is still front and center. In the Epistle lesson for our Epiphany Festival, Paul is literally beside himself to describe the special gift that God gave him.

 “Assuming that you have heard of the stewardship of God's grace that was given to me for you, how the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I have written briefly. When you read this, you can perceive my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to the sons of men in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit. This mystery is that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.

Of this gospel I was made a minister according to the gift of God's grace, which was given me by the working of his power. To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things, 10 so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. 11 This was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord, 12 in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him.” (Ephesians 3:2-12)

In a way, Paul was a unique recipient of this gift. In generations past, it was not fully revealed to the sons of men (v. 5). For ages, it was kept hidden in God, the creator of all things (v. 9). Even the angels do not have full insight into the mystery to which Paul was made privy (v. 10).

That mystery is that the Gentiles are sharers in the promises and blessings of God. Full sharers. Equal partners. Members of the same body. They enjoy the same status before God as the Jews. The full revelation of this mystery was given a unique way to Paul, the apostle to the Gentiles.

It was also a gift that God wanted Paul to share. He wanted Paul to shed light on this secret for everyone (v. 9). Through the Church, God wanted the angels to stand in awe as they more clearly see the manifold wisdom of God (v. 10). God wants us to know - and our people to know - what Paul knew: that everyone who has faith in Jesus has full, unbridled access to the God. Whether it’s Christmas, Epiphany, or any other day of the year, this is our present and permanent possession (cf. present tense of the verb in verse 12).


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