Sunday 6th January was the 12th day of Christmas – the Epiphany when we remember the wise men visiting Jesus. When I did a couple of home communions last week I read the shorter collect for the Epiphany to those I was visiting. I found the words of the prayer to be striking and profound:
Creator of the heavens,
Who led the Magi by a star to worship the Christ-child:
Guide us and sustain us,
That we may find our journey’s end
In Jesus Christ our Lord.
It was the idea of ‘our journey’s end’ that I found most striking. For those near to death who trust Christ, their journey’s end will be to enter fully into the presence of Christ for all eternity. For all of us, our journey comes to one end when we trust Jesus and give our lives to him – when we bow before him and give him our gifts, just as the wise men did. But even though the journey of searching for Jesus ends when, like the wise men, we find him and give our lives to him, in other ways the journey continues – the journey of learning to know the Lord more deeply and to love him more each day; the journey of allowing him to transform us into more and more of his likeness. That journey won’t end until the day we die and we see Jesus face to face.
So as this new year starts, we are all still on a journey – the journey of following not the star in the sky, but Jesus himself. For this journey we need God’s strength and sustaining presence.
When I come to the end of one year and look back over it I’m always glad that at the start of the year I didn’t know what it would hold. If I had known in advance what some years would hold I would have trembled at the thought of having to live through them. And yet, however hard a year has been, at the end of it, there has always been the sense of God’s guiding and sustaining presence, even in the hard times.
As we begin 2019 not knowing what it will hold for us, let us join in praying the prayer for the Epiphany – that we may continue to journey towards Christ and becoming more like him and that in our journeys, however hard or easy they may be this year, we will each know God’s guiding and sustaining presence.
With every blessing,