#ThursdayThought

“I usually don't talk for three days after a defeat. Then you have an epiphany and realise it's just a game.” — Alun Wyn Jones, Welsh rugby international player and captain (born 1985).

Rugby is a game of passion, at least for those who are involved either as players, trainers, or supporters.   One of the best players in the Welsh squad recently has been Alun Wyn Jones, and he is the world’s most-capped rugby union player, with 161 international appearances – 149 for Wales and 12 for the British & Irish Lions[1].   He hates losing.

“I usually don’t talk for three days after a defeat. Then you have an epiphany and realise it’s just a game.”

— Alun Wyn Jones, Welsh rugby international player and captain (born 1985).

According to dictionary.com[2], an epiphany is:

  1. (initial capital letter) a Christian festival, observed on January 6, commemorating the manifestation of Christ to the gentiles in the persons of the Magi; Twelfth-day.
  2. an appearance or manifestation, especially of a deity.
  3. a sudden, intuitive perception of or insight into the reality or essential meaning of something, usually initiated by some simple, homely, or commonplace occurrence or experience.

I’m sure that Alun Wyn Jones wasn’t talking about the appearance of a deity, but the sudden insight that, despite the strong emotions triggered by a defeat in the game that he is passionate about, it is after all just a game.   It was not life and death, it was winning or losing a game that will be replayed over and over again, against other teams or even the same teams, year after year after year; and in the grand scheme of things, the loss of that particular game does not stop the world revolving!  

But today – 6th January – we commemorate a real epiphany, the appearance of a deity, and the realisation by the Wise Men that the newborn babe in the manger was indeed the child of God, Christ Jesus, Emmanuel, God among us, very God Himself in person, born on earth.  

Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the reign of King Herod.   About that time some wise men from eastern lands arrived in Jerusalem, asking, “Where is the newborn king of the Jews?   We saw his star as it rose, and we have come to worship him.”

Ephesians 2:8 (NLT)

How did the Wise Men – the Magi – know?   They had a true epiphany: a sudden, intuitive perception of or insight into the reality or essential meaning of the birth of this child.   To everyone else around, just another baby; to the Magi, the Son of God was born.  

The wise men arrived “about that time” that Jesus was born.   This is an amazing “co-incidence” considering that they had travelled around 400 miles by foot or by camel.   It is thought that: “A trip of 400 miles would have taken the magi approximately two to three weeks on camels or around a month’s journey by foot.   If we assume that they travelled by night to be guided by the star, this would mean that their journey would have taken even longer time.”[3]

But it wasn’t a “co-incidence,” it was an epiphany, a remarkable insight into the meaning of this commonplace occurrence of the birth of a baby – it was the baby Jesus.  

Perhaps today – on the festival day of Epiphany – you also need an epiphany.   Perhaps you need to realise that the commonplace occurrence of Christmas, which takes place year after year, isn’t a celebration of Father Christmas but a celebration of the gift of our heavenly Father who sent His son who was born as God among us on CHRISTmas day.  

Christ is the real reason for the season, and that may be your epiphany today.   The realisation that God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to earth to dwell among us and to die for us so as to pay for all our wrongs.   May that be your epiphany today, that Christ died for you, that you may have life, and that your life is worth living because He gave His life for you.

May God Bless You, and we hope to see you soon.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alun_Wyn_Jones

[2] https://www.dictionary.com/browse/epiphany

[3] https://bibleask.org/how-far-did-the-magi-travel-to-see-jesus/

Coming soon – #ThursdayThought booklet, with a collection of quotes.