This Sunday we celebrate the coming of the wise men and the Church celebration of Epiphany (traditionally celebrated on January 6). This day ends the twelve days of Christmas and begins the season of light. In many traditions especially the Eastern Orthodox tradition of the church they celebrate this day by remembering Jesus baptism by jumping in the local lake, river or ocean. This is not so bad if you live in a Mediterranean country but not so great if you live in Russia where the tradition is the most popular and they have to cut a hole in the ice to jump in. This year most of my family celebrated a secular Americanized version of the this tradition by participating in the dolphin dip in the Atlantic Ocean at Surf City on New Year’s day.  What I discovered was it was not so much the jumping in that was so cold (even though it was pretty chilly), but the running out into the cool air soaking wet was the real challenge. The interesting thing however, was the excitement of having jumped in the cold water with a community of several hundred other folks made you at least temporarily forget you were freezing.  And afterwards, although we had been doubtful about our first time, we all wanted to do it again next year.  So perhaps the eastern church is on to something maybe we need to begin this season of light with a challenge, a shock to our system, an experience that reminds us that together we can face big challenges and emerge from the coldness and darkness of life into the warmth and light of God’s love renewed again and ready for the journey. Because we are not just a random group of strangers on a beach but are part of God’s community experiencing life’s challenges and joys together. Lucky for you I just had this “epiphany” yesterday and not where I had a chance to put a plan together or I would be inviting you to bring your swimsuit as our worship continued by going out to jump in a lake together to remind us of the shocking power of God’s love and light to renew and refresh us.  So I invite you this year to symbolically jump in to the New Year at HUCC, remembering that we can face challenges wash away the burdens of the past and we go forth into the light of the newness of God together living into the possibilities and boldness that God is calling us to in the coming year. And watch for Epiphany 2015 you may need to bring a swimsuit to church.

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