We were traveling back home last weekend from Southern Illinois where we were visiting family, and I saw a billboard on the side of the road that asked a single question:
“Do you look to God as your steering wheel, or as your spare tire?”
That really struck a chord with me. What a great analogy! Or you could say it another way:
“Do you look to God as your guiding light, or that spare flashlight when the power goes out?
Either way, the point is simple – Do you look to God to lead you through life, every day in everything, rather than just when an emergency happens?
Do you look to Him to steer your life, do you look to Him as your guiding light, especially through the unknown and uncertainty of life, even when you don’t understand?
Do you let Christ guide you through the reality of life? Because that’s what today is about – the reality of God and His Light, His Truth.
Epiphany is defined as a manifestation, a materialization of a new reality. It’s not just a symbol or a concept or an idea, but an intuitive insight into the reality or essential meaning of something.
The Magi encountered this. They didn’t know what they were going to encounter on their journey, or exactly who they were looking for. They were traveling through unknown lands and encountering some dangerous people along the way, but through it all they let His Light guide them, through the trials, through the deceit of Herod, all the way to the One they went to see – God manifested as a human, a little baby, the One to save us all.
And so, this was the new reality and essential meaning of this, that God is not a god somewhere far off in the heavens and the stars. But no, He is here, in the flesh, on this earth, helpless and in the arms of a humble woman, a modest carpenter by her side, in a dusty, backwater town in the desert.
The last piece of the Epiphany definition says that it’s usually initiated by some simple, homely, commonplace occurrence.
The birth of a baby to a poor couple just trying to make ends meet – nothing more simple and commonplace than that.
But it’s a new reality. God materialized as man. Showing that He is one of us, and we are one with Him. He’s come here to save us, to be our guiding light, our steering wheel through life, so to speak.
Rather than being there, waiting to hear from us when we’re in trouble, when we’re complaining about the lot we’ve been given, He’s coming to us in the flesh, in the midst of it all, where He will never leave us, providing a means to save us through His grace, through His touch, through His Presence. This is what is so awesome about all this, how He became one of us.
And then not only His sacrifice and the effect that His death and resurrection has on our eternal salvation, but how he continues to be here with us through the Sacraments and the Eucharist and in our faith today and every day, here to help guide us, to help steer us through life. If we let Him.
Do you look for His help? When you’re going through something, or simply trying to keep up with life, do you look to Him as your guide, your light, your rock knowing that no matter what life throws at you or takes away, that nothing can take away Jesus, your faith, and His Love and Mercy, the Truth of what He offers us?
I’m throwing a lot of questions out there today, but it’s good to start off a new year with questions. It’s good to not only reflect and learn from and be thankful for the year gone by, but it’s good to ask questions about the year ahead.
Real questions. Not, what is my New Year’s resolution? But questions like Am I headed in the right direction? What is my relationship with Christ like? Do I even have a relationship with Him? Are there things going on in my life, a chaos and anxiety, that I just cannot seem to shake?
Is Jesus my steering wheel through life, or my spare tire?
In my own life, I’ve experienced that in the times I look to God to help me steer, my life has more balance and I’m able to better navigate the good and the bad.
If we look to Him to help us steer, we’ll see He is Present all around us – not only in our faith and the grace of the Sacraments – but everywhere, in other people, and the things He blesses us with. Even amidst the bad things, He is there.
And we most often see Him in the little things, those common, everyday occurrences that we so often take for granted and gloss over.
Let God be your steering wheel this year, don’t just look to Him as a spare tire when things go bad. He might lead you down a road you never knew was there, one where you’re not sure of the destination – just trust in His direction.
Trust in the reality of Christ, and your journey will be littered with special graces and blessings along the way. It may still be a tough road, but a new encounter, a new relationship with God awaits.
IS 60:1-6; PS 72; EPH 3:2-3A, 5-6; MT 2:1-12