Waiting on Epiphany

Janis Hunt Johnson
6 min readJan 9, 2023
Nick Owuor — Unsplash

January 6th came and went.

And I was still waiting for my epiphany.

January 6th, the twelfth Day of Christmas, is called Epiphany in mainline Christian churches around the world — celebrating the magi who followed the star of Bethlehem to be in the presence of the infant Jesus.

The word epiphany originates in the fourteenth century, meaning the “festival of the manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles.” From the Greek epiphaneia meaning “manifestation,” today an epiphany means “a sudden perception of the essential nature or meaning of something,” and “an intuitive grasp of reality through something, usually simple and striking.” An epiphany is “an illuminating discovery, realization, or disclosure.” It’s basically come to mean “any manifestation or revelation.”

It was a quirk of fate that the events of that particular date in 2021 have forever altered history. Or maybe it’s just God trying to get our attention.

The irony of the existence of a January 6th Commission isn’t lost on me. The Committee certainly has provided us with an avalanche of epiphanies — as we learned over 18 months in great detail the shocking level of dysfunction at the White House and the mounting acts of malfeasance in the days leading to the attempted violent coup and its ongoing aftermath.

At the Committee’s final public meeting in December, Chairman Bennie Thompson (Democratic Representative from Mississippi), aptly called us to “a time of reflection and reckoning.”

Adam Kinzinger (Republican Representative from Illinois) at an earlier Committee meeting, assured us:

“Democracies are not defined by bad days; they’re defined by how they recover from those bad days. And that’s what we’re doing here — is to bring accountability to that, so we can actually come back even stronger than when we went into January 6th.”

It’s taken two years, but the Committee’s criminal referrals have now been conveyed to the Justice Department in its in-depth Final Report.

And thank Goodness, democracy has held. Truth has prevailed. Many guilty parties have been sentenced.

Yet we the American people continue to wait for justice to be served upon the wannabe dictator who stirred it all up. We’re still watching and waiting for Truth to “uncover and destroy error in God’s own way,” as spiritual leader Mary Baker Eddy wrote in Science and Health, “and let human justice pattern the divine.” (p. 542)

Barbara Jackson — Pixabay

And what about our own “bad days”?

In the meantime, life goes on — and you and I have our own “bad days” to recover from. It seems we’re always in need of another epiphany.

Debie Thomas, Episcopal minister and author of Into the Mess and Other Jesus Stories, puts it this way:

“Though the life of faith is often described in terms of joyful arrivals and culminations, in reality we spend a lot of our time in between. Though we know that Good Friday gives way to Easter, we live our lives on Holy Saturday, waiting for the fullness of resurrection’s promise to unfold. Sometimes it feels as if the whole planet is straining with impatience, yearning for something better. Sometimes I wonder if in-betweenness is the quintessential human condition.”

After taking in her words, I finally got my epiphany: I’ve decided that I want to replace insurrection with resurrection — in my thought, in my conversations, in my actions — in every way I can think of.

I can beat myself up about some mistake I’ve made; I can wallow in a tragedy I’ve experienced — or I can seek an epiphany, rise up, and get myself out of it. We can stay traumatized due to the unspeakable events of January 6th, 2021, or we can ask for an epiphany, and rise up, wiser and better than before.

This is what healing is all about. And God’s healing presence is perpetually available.

Choosing resurrection.

Just about every time Jesus or one of his disciples healed someone, they used the word “arise.” Maya Angelou powerfully declared this same audacity in the face of hopelessness, in her famous poem, Still I Rise:

You may write me down in history / With your bitter, twisted lies, / You may trod me in the very dirt / But still, like dust, I’ll rise. . . .

Just like moons and like suns, / With the certainty of tides, / Just like hopes springing high, / Still I’ll rise. . . .

God — Good Itself, Truth Itself, Love Itself — resides right here with us in the “in-betweenness,” while we await our epiphanies. Even if they’re slow in coming, every moment, we have a choice about what we will experience.

When Jesus’ disciples were devastated by his death from crucifixion, they went back to what they’d always done: fishing. But they couldn’t catch a thing all night.

In the morning, they were still dejected, but a guy standing on the shore advised them to try throwing their net on the right side.

When they did, they ended up with a huge haul. Amazed, when they got to shore, they recognized that this stranger was the risen Jesus himself. And all he said was, “Come and eat!” (see John 21:1–14)

Here’s the thing: Jesus was already grilling some fish.

Author of The Gratitude Jar Josie Robinson offers what she calls a “mindful New Year’s Resolution alternative”: Write out the things you’re grateful for that you want in the future — using the present tense, as if they’ve already happened.

And there it is: Another epiphany is on the way.

We can do this.

Quang Nguyen Vinh — Pexels

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Janis Hunt Johnson

Author, 5 Smooth Stones: Our Power to Heal Without Medicine through the Science of Prayer. Transformational Editor. From Chicago to L.A., now in Pacific NW.