Epiphany 2014 I think “Winter Wonderland” should have been our entrance hymn instead of “We three kings”. Although it’s mostly messy now, for a while everything was sparkling, shining, glistening, glittering? I know not a word. So for a few moments just notice the sparkling lights, the shining, glistening, glittering that is meant to reveal God’s glory in the world. Sparkles! If any of you heard me preach on Christmas Eve, you would have heard that word multiple times. Sparkles! I told the story of my mother when she came to Boston to celebrate her 90th birthday and how she wore a dress that “sparkled”, “glittered”. She “glowed” when she wore it. She glistened like the reflections of light on new fallen snow. The only thing was that she left a trail of sparkles and glitter wherever she went that day. We were finding glitter and sparkles everywhere. I suggested in my homily that this was an apt image for the Incarnation, God’s coming among us as flesh and blood and sinew in the life of Jesus and letting us see his Glory in the most ordinary and yet miraculous events of human life, the birth of a child. Even before this moment in time when human and divine are born in this child of Mary, there are traces of God’s glory from the very beginning of creation. In a very real sense the sun and the moon and the stars and the panoply of heaven and earth reveal the One who is Beauty and Holiness. The world is charged with the grandeur, glory, glitter of God (thanks Gerard Manley Hopkins). If we do believe in the Ignatian principle of “Finding God in all things” and “all for the greater Glory of God” we may only have to open our eyes to see the Glory of God shining forth in the most unexpected places. That is what this feast of Epiphany is really about, God’s glory shining forth in the most unexpected place, manifested to the most unexpected, strangest people. The Gospel writer Matthew needed to tell a story that would illustrate that God’s promise to the nations from Isaiah was in fact being realized in the birth of Jesus. He wanted to affirm that the message of salvation was not just for the Jewish people but for the Gentiles as well. He does this in a remarkably imaginative way. In fact, the story is truly fantastical with appearing and disappearing stars, or even a comet leaving a trail of stardust. The whole city of Jerusalem is a buzz with excitement about this new born king. Through the centuries we’ve made it even more fantastical, dressing these magi from the east as royalty who come to pay homage to another “king”, the king of the Jews, naming them, crowning them, spinning stories of journeys from far off places. This is one of those passages of scriptures that excite the imagination of composers, artists, poets. If you googled “adoration of the Magi”, how many artistic works would you find, not to mention TS Eliot’s “Journey of the Magi” and Gian Paul Menotti’s “Amahl and the night visitors”. Let’s just say that the magi lend themselves to artistic I-magi-nation. (Yes, I used that last year. Bears repeating!) There is so much glitter and glow and sparkle and stardust in this Christmas season that we may forget the essential message: God is for all and in all. In Christ Jesus the Glory of God is seen shining forth through the miraculously ordinary and ordinarily miraculous. The children’s writer, Madeleine L’Engle in her classic Christmas book called it “the Glorious Impossible”. What God has done in Jesus is made the Glorious Impossible, Gloriously possible for all of us. Think about it. Pray about it. Wonder as you wander. The miraculously ordinary. The ordinarily miraculous. The Gloriously possible. Finding God in all things.