The best thing about the New Year is that it offers a fresh start. I am a big fan of fresh starts. The New Year is just one of the opportunities I use to start fresh. Some of the others: Easter, my birthday, the start of the academic year, and Advent. Basically, I’ve worked it out so that I have the opportunity to have a fresh perspective every couple months or so—which is perfect because I find myself needing a new start quite frequently. If New Year’s was my only opportunity to resolve to do something new, I’d be in pretty poor shape.

Incidentally, there is another holiday in early January that Christians celebrate that offers the chance for a fresh perspective: the feast of Epiphany on January 6th. It fell on the first Friday of January this year, the same day of the snow storm in North Carolina, leading one of my friends to give it the catchy moniker #snowpiphany. There was something rather fitting about this to me. If you’re safely tucked inside a warm house, which is where you’ll find me anytime we have weather, there is nothing in winter that so readily signifies the promise of a new start than a blanket of freshly fallen snow.

Epiphany also signifies a new start. Epiphany simply means manifestation. And what we celebrate at Epiphany is that God is manifest in Jesus Christ. There are two types of celebrations at Epiphany that recognize this manifestation. The first is perhaps the most obvious, it’s the feast of the Three Kings. Epiphany celebrates the coming of the Magi to Mary, Joseph, and Jesus when Jesus was but a wee babe. And in it, we see God starting a fresh relationship with all of humanity. Whereas the Messiah was predicted to be the King of the Jews, here we have three powerful, non-Jewish leaders coming to worship a mere child. It’s where God is making manifest to the world the intent to have Jesus be the king and messiah of the whole world.

Wow. Talk about a lot of pressure on an infant.

But in the grand scheme of things nothing offers so obvious a fresh start as a new life.

That brings me to the second way that Epiphany is celebrated by some. Some see it as a celebration of Jesus’ Baptism. And for those of us who have participated in Baptism and the renewing of our Baptismal promises, we know that this too offers the fresh start of new life. So much so that some people see it as an opportunity to be born again. It’s an opportunity to be born into the Christian family and to start a new life together.

The manifestation during Epiphany is amazing and marvelous whether you’re celebrating the Feast of the Magi or the Baptism of Jesus. Both show us that Jesus is God’s Son and show that God is establishing a new and defining way to interact with the world. But I think this holiday presses us too. It presses us to decide how we are going to live this new life in the world in a way that makes God’s love manifest to the world.

So as you’re re-thinking your New Year’s resolutions, realizing it’s never too late to make a fresh start,  which of your resolutions encourages you to make God’s love manifest in the world? There’s nothing wrong with making a resolution that will help you be a more joy-filled person, but is God calling you to add a resolution that helps other’s see the joy of God, as well?

If you’d like to share your resolution to make God more manifest in the world, please visit us on Facebook. If you’re looking for more ways to get involved, check out our volunteer opportunities under events or contact your local chapter on the home page. And please share this with anyone you think will enjoy it!