Punching Holes in the Darkness
Have you heard the story about the Scottish writer Robert Louis Stevenson? As a young boy he used to watch the lamplighter lighting the village street lights below his house. He would say to his mother,
"here comes the man who punches holes in the darkness".This is one of the best pictures of epiphany that I know. Epiphanies are when we experience a hole punched in darkness so we see something or someone in a new light. What we didn't or couldn't see before is suddenly revealed to us. We all have those moments from time to time. Sometimes such moments are life-changing.
For Christians, today 6 January is the Feast of the Epiphany, a celebration of God punching a hole in the darkness. The story of the wise men from the east who were led by a star to find and worship a baby in Bethlehem is well-known. They represent all of us who were not there when Jesus was born but are drawn to him by whatever light we are given. For those who find him life can never be the same again. the wise men were "overwhelmed with joy" and returned to their own country "by another road". Did they then punch holes in the darkness for others?
the bright splendour whom the nations seek:
may we who with the wise men have been drawn by your light
discern the glory of your presence in your Son,
the Word made flesh, Jesus Christ our Lord.
(Epiphany Post Communion Prayer, Common Worship, Archbishops' Council 2000)