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Most nativity scenes come with the usual suspects: baby Jesus, manger, donkey, Joseph, Mary, 3 wise men, a shepherd or too, etc. Most all nativity scenes are probably inaccurate. Among others, we know that the wise men weren’t present, they encounter Jesus when he was a toddler. The church celebrates this eventual encounter with the magi because it was the first time the Saviour was revealed to the Gentiles. We celebrate this moment as ‘Epiphany’.

Why was is Epiphany significant?

The first fragile years of the Messiah are his rapturous introduction into the history of humanity. Just as we encounter the New Year before us, Epiphany is a celebration of the passing of the old and the intercession of the new.

Is there something in your life that you want to make ‘new’ again?

The start of the New Year is usually fraught with attempts at ‘newness’. New body shape, new habits, new outlook on life.

New is a predominant theme in the biblical narrative as well (Romans 16:7, John 3:3, Galatians 6:15, Isaiah 43:18, Isaiah 65:17, Ephesians 4:24, 2 Corinthians 5:17, Revelation 21:4-5.) Every person can ask God for new (2 Corinthians 5:17), a profound request because of its simplicity yet inextricably connection to God’s own dream for the world–to make all things new again.

You’re a part of that. But it’s not always hopeful.

Have you ever noticed that one moment you can marvel at the joy and goodness in the world, and almost in the same breathe experience extreme lament and sadness? These are real examples goodness and brokenness colliding. It’s our reality.

But there’s a hopeful solution.

When Jesus encounters the world, God incarnate revealed as a babe in swaddling cloth, we can point to the moment where we are not only promised new in the age to come, but new in the here and now.

Living in a ‘now but not yet’ means the stories that we live today include chapters of a promised newness. We can ASK for new, AND we have ALREADY been made NEW! Not only can we encounter the ‘newness’ of a redeemed world, we also participate-—we can be agents of ‘newness’ in the places we exist.

What does the New Year hold for you? What will your story of new be?