An epiphany is a sudden revelation or thought. There may well have been a gradual build-up beforehand, but suddenly you have a ‘Eureka!’ moment when a new thought becomes suddenly clear to you. It may be about your job, or about a problem that’s been baffling you or perhaps about your sexual orientation or gender identity.

Having had this epiphany, you now need to decide what you will do about it and who you will tell. There may be a significant cost in doing this and you may be misunderstood or rejected. But you may also be pleasantly surprised, find support from unexpected sources and have a deep sense of peace about taking a new direction in life.

In the church, Epiphany is both an event and a season in the calendar. As an event it refers to the wise men from the East (Magi) visiting Jesus and offering him exotic gifts. Their epiphany was linking a new sign in the sky (a comet?) with the birth of a new king, who turns out to be Jesus. It is also a revelation that foreigners should recognise and seek to worship a Jewish boy born to be king.

As a season in the church calendar, Epiphany follows the season of Christmas and is the period where Jesus appears to the world as both the Son of God (revealed at his baptism) and the hoped for Messiah (King) of Israel, as revealed at the start of John’s Gospel. How Jesus himself recognised and responded to these epiphanies is never really shared in the Scriptures, but we might imagine that they caused a range of emotions. These revelations also led many to misunderstand or reject Jesus.

So I wonder whether you’ve had any epiphanies lately, whether about your personal life or who this person Jesus may be as we’ve travelled through the Christmas season and beyond. What will you do differently now as a result? Who will you tell?