• Joni Ganguzza

Life Altering Epiphany

Did you ever wonder why the classic Christmas song 12 days of Christmas, chose the number 12? Maybe to make it the longest Christmas song ever? Or maybe the writer had an affinity for everything from various birds to milking maids to drummers and he wanted to capture all his favorites in the song? No, actually just as the word “Christmas“ came from the Catholic tradition of ”Christ’s Mass”, there are 12 days of the liturgical season of Christmas leading up to Epiphany, celebrated on January 6th (or the Sunday closest to that date).

You may have said the phrase “I had an epiphany!” when you had something happen to you or had a thought or conversation that would forever change you and you could never be the same or think the same way going forward. Well, those 3 Magi that followed the Star to Bethlehem witnessed the greatest epiphany of the world. They met and worshipped the Word made Flesh and those men and the world would never be the same. Although the 3 Magi departed another way home to avoid Herod to keep the newborn Jesus safe, it can also be symbolic that once you have a major epiphany in your life, you will never be the same and you can't go back the same way or go back to doing the same thing.

I think God events in our own lives, whether amazing or tragic, as a symbolic star to lead us to our own epiphanies. For example, one of the greatest epiphanies of my life was the day I laid eyes on my first child Elena. At that moment, I realized the most important vocation I would ever have in life was to be her mother. No job or promotion mattered nearly as much as raising her.

I can also remember my epiphany moment when I truly fell in love with my faith and realized the unconditional love Christ offers us. I was 15 years old and went to adoration for the first time and had my first true realization that God is present in the Eucharist. The tears of joy that rolled down my face as I wept in the presence of God, I could never be the same person going forward.

My recent battle with autoimmune encephalitis left me with 2 great epiphanies that have drawn be closer to God. One was that my own security was an illusion and that I needed God and other people to carry me through that time. The person I always relied on was the person I looked at in the mirror, but for the first time as an adult I realized that I needed God, doctors, family, neighbors, coworkers and friends for emotional, spiritual and financial support or there is no way I could have made it through this difficult time. My second epiphany from this was how fragile life can be. You would think since I work in an ER, I would have a great understanding the fragility of human life. But now that I gaze down at the tremor in my left hand, or look laterally and see double or trip while I'm walking because I lose my balance easily, I truly realize that humans are fragile and not to take for granted the simple things like going for a jog or taking a yoga class.

So as the 12 days of Christmas have come to an end, I encourage you to take a deep look at the epiphanies of your life. How have they changed you? How is God using them to draw you closer to him? How can you share those insights to help others?

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