Epiphany: The Light Does Come
By Katie Harmon-McLaughlin of San Anselmo, CA, USA
And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High; for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways, to give knowledge of salvation to his people by the forgiveness of their sins. By the tender mercy of our God, the dawn from on high will break upon us, to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.” —Luke 1:76–79 NRSV
I was sobbing in the dark. With each weighted exhale I released the despair that had been gathering within. At sixteen years of age, I was perpetually questioning myself, my future, and God, who’d grown strangely distant and unfamiliar. In the safety of that dark aloneness, I felt I was being emptied.
I’m not sure how long I lay in that dark room, but I realized at some point that my eyes were adjusting to what now appeared to be a dim glow. Specks of dust sparkled within a ray of light coming from the corner of a window with a crumpled curtain.
Fully present and alert now, I was seeing this simple sliver of light breaking forth, but also feeling it within me. It was a visible truth I’d been seeking—the certainty that hope will arrive through every crack and crevice in every place we are ever in. The familiar Leonard Cohen line comes to mind: “There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.” The full sacred significance rushed into the space within that had been emptied out. A dark room was transformed into a place of holy encounter.
I have kept an eye out for light breaking through since that time. I am drawn to evening sunlight bursting through tree branches, to the radiance of a full moon, to a sunrise barely creeping over the mountains, golden glow stretching out across the new dawn sky. Epiphany is about drawing our attention to this Divine Light, present always, in every seemingly dark place. It is about the in-breaking of hope into our lives and world, as sure as the sun will rise each day.
Epiphany is a message of divine grace, unrelenting and luminous. It is the promise of light through every crack or crumpled curtain or from the brightest star in the dark night guiding again to Emmanuel, God with us.
May I see your light in all life.
Invitation to Spiritual Practice
Light of God
Close your eyes, and become centered with your breath. As you breathe gently in and out, reflect on the statement, “The light of God is in all things.” The light has a bright, soft beauty and radiates God’s healing love. The light of God reaches you and permeates you with a deep sense of peace. Rest in the light as it surrounds and fills you. Thank God that you live in God’s light, and it lives in you.