” Arise, shine, for your light has come,
and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.
For behold, darkness shall cover the earth,
and thick darkness the peoples;
but the Lord will arise upon you,
and his glory will be seen upon you.
And nations shall come to your light,
and kings to the brightness of your rising.” Isaiah 60:1-6
This is a good truth to remember as we grapple with the horrific attacks in France this week. When any group of people perpetrates violent acts on another it is easy to jump quickly to an us vs. them mentality. While governments should use all their just powers to protect the innocent and punish those who do evil, we can remember that God’s children will come from every nation on earth. God told Abraham of His intention to bless all men through him and Christ is the accomplishment of His will. Over and over in Scripture we read about God’s desire to bring people from all nations to Himself.
The first day of Epiphany falls the day after the Christmas season ends the morning after the 12th day of Christmas. This is always January 6th. On it, the Church remembers that God sent a star to reach Gentiles, who we know as the Wise Men, so that they could come and worship Jesus. Even at the birth of His Son, God invited all men. Since then, the good news of salvation through Christ’s atonement for our sins on the cross has spread to some of the remotest places on the planet. God’s inclusion of Gentiles into His kingdom is great news! After all, that’s most of us.
The first Sunday after Epiphany, we remember Christ’s baptism. At Christ’s baptism God illumined us not by a star in the east or by angels singing, but by a dove descending on Jesus and a voice from heaven saying, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” Matthew 3:17
All in all, see how gracious God is to do so much to bring light into our lives!
“See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are.” 1 John 3:1