Armodoxy for Today: Theophany
When we first began to journey through Advent I mentioned that there are three Gospel narratives concerning the birth of Jesus Christ. We are all familiar with St. Matthew’s account of the Nativity, with the virgin birth, to the visit of the Magi. Likewise we know that St. Luke presents the Nativity in the context of the census and with Joseph and Mary finding a birthing area in a barn because there was “no room at the inn.” The angels herald the Good News with the words “Peace on Earth and good will among men.”
The third Nativity story does not read like the other two. It is recorded by the Evangelist St. John in His Gospel. The time referenced is not two thousand years ago, rather it at the beginning of all time. It reads as follows:
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.”
The final narrative, the one according to St. John, is about the eternal presence of the Christ. The holy words of scripture point to the Eternal One, the Creator and the Source of Light. And now, “The Word became flesh” and “Dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” (14)
We refer to this event as the Theophany, that is, the Revelation of God. In Armenian, the word is descriptive of the event, Asdvadzahaydnutiun. In Jesus Christ, God is revealed to humanity. The Nativity is part of the Theophany. He that was at the beginning, the One that took nothing and created the stars and the sky, the sea and scenery, is now in our midst. Advent has prepared us for this moment and we now understand that no matter how long we prepare, we can never be prepared enough to stand in His presence. It is only by His grace that we can find the expression of awe that lifts up from our inner being.
January 6 is the feast of Theophany, Asdvadzahaydnutiun. It arrives in two days. The 50 days of Advent have been filled with lessons from Holy Scriptures and the teachings of Jesus Christ. We are ready to view the Theophany through the lens of Armodoxy. That means, with awe we await to witness the Nativity from Bethlehem to our homes. We look up to the heavens and see the shining star guiding us to the stable where the Child Jesus is wrapped in swaddling clothe and lays in a major. And the spot under the star is in our neighborhood, close to home. We now understand that the star shines above Artsakh, Ukraine, the Congo, Ecuador, and San Salvador because most of all, we understand that Jesus Christ is revealed under each of these locations. Tomorrow comes a revelation of God, on the eve of the Birth of Christ.
Let us pray, Lord God, on this Holy Day you came into a world in the most lowly of all conditions. You came to share Your Divine message with us. Fill us with the power of the Holy Spirit. Give us strength to marvel at the wonders of this Day and to stand in awe. Give us the perception to see the star of Bethlehem everywhere where you are born to those in need, to us and those who hurt. I thank you for giving me the opportunity to be witnesses to this blessing. Amen.