As we celebrate the revelation of God incarnate in Jesus Christ, we might want to think about our own epiphany moments.
The Epiphany is God revealed in Jesus Christ — the manifestation. An epiphany moment can be seen as God revealed to us. As we build that relationship with Christ, these epiphany moments are realized; we have these “aha” moments when we see truth.
My dad used to love to reminisce and take walks down memory lane. When I close my eyes, I see my childhood. I feel the excitement I did as a young kid waiting for Baba Noel (Santa Clause). My parents creatively combined Chaldean traditions with American ones when they emigrated from Iraq. We had decorations, but Chaldean food was the focal point. I can still see the Nativity scene in my childhood home, next to the fireplace and steps away from the Christmas tree.
When my mom bakes Kelacha during the Advent season, our traditional Chaldean Christmas cookies, I am almost transported back in time, growing up with my six sisters. As a tradition, we never took down our Christmas décor until after Jan. 6, or, as my dad would say, after "Denha Day." I didn’t realize that Denha Day was an actual holiday until I got older. I was looking at the Chaldean liturgical calendar, and there on Jan. 6 read Denha Day. My last name in Aramaic translates to the Epiphany, not the “aha” moment, but the actual Epiphany of Jesus of Christ.
We all have stories to tell and epiphany moments where God reveals Himself to us. We can all look back at our lives and see one epiphany moment after another. They’re interwoven throughout my childhood. They were faith seeds that were planted and grew as I did. God is always with us and wants to reveal Himself to us. We just have to invite Him in.
Five ways to have 'epiphany moments'
Reflect back: The hardest part of taking down the Christmas decorations for my dad was not so much the tree and stockings, but the Nativity scene. Not until recently was that an epiphany for me. Jesus and his birth — God revealed — that was the real meaning of Christmas to live in our hearts throughout the year, and that is what my dad valued the most.
Realize your gifts: One pivotal epiphany for me is when I realized that God gave me specific talents to bring others to Him. We are all born with God-given talents. We are all blessed with charisms by the Holy Spirit upon our baptisms. Acknowledging my talents and charisms was God shining one of the biggest lights on my life. I realized I had a purpose. We all have these gifts in us. It is through my charism of communication that God is revealed to me. Knowing our talents and seeing our purpose are epiphany moments where God shines that light.
Encounter Christ through Scripture: One of the most profound epiphany moments for me was encountering Christ. Taking a deep dive into Scripture, the stories unfold: the New Testament is hidden in the Old, and the Old Testament is revealed in the New. God reveals Himself throughout Scripture. Jesus is the New Covenant, and through Him we witness the true Epiphany. We invite Jesus into our lives by reading the Gospels, and Jesus speaks to us through Scripture. We have to first know Christ if we want to truly encounter Him, and if we want to know ourselves. Start reading the Bible.
Surrender: My encounter with Christ truly came when I surrendered. The “aha” moment for me was when I realized that when I let go, God took over. For me, it was about trusting that God knows better than I do. There were specific moments when I invited God to take over — when I trusted Him to help me meet my husband, to have children and to move my career in a different direction. A regular prayer I started years ago was, “Dear God, please bring the people into my life who will lead me in the direction you want me to go.” That prayer has brought so many people into my life who have helped my work in ministry.
Share Christ with others: Once we encounter Christ, we are called to share Him with others, and we can use our talents and gifts to bring others to him. One way to do this is by sharing your own epiphany moments and encouraging others to think about how God reveals Himself in their lives.
Vanessa Denha Garmo is a communications strategist, evangelist, Christian coach and host of the "Epiphany" radio program on Ave Maria Radio. She has a master’s degree in communications and is the founder of Epiphany Communications & Coaching.