If you’re not quite ready to say “good-bye” to the Christmas season, then I’ve got some really good news for you. This Sunday, January 6th is Epiphany, which means Christmas isn’t over yet.

Sometimes known as the “12th day of Christmas” or “Little Christmas” Epiphany is the ancient Christian celebration of the day a group of Magi (a.k.a. wise-men) from the east arrived in Bethlehem to worship the young Messiah Jesus. But of far greater importance than the excuse it gives us to squeeze in a few more Christmas carols and to leave our trees up a few more days is the reminder that Epiphany provides us that Jesus is God’s gift to everybody, regardless of their religious or spiritual background.

The religious background of the Magi was just about as different as you could get from Jesus’ own very Jewish background. For example, the wise-men’s fondness for astrology is explicitly forbidden in the law of Moses and elsewhere in the Old Testament scriptures. And yet, in spite of all of the ways in which their religious views and practices diverged from the very scriptures that foretold the coming of the Messiah, the Magi chose to journey hundreds of miles across deserts and mountains in order to kneel before Jesus and worship him with precious gifts as the true king of God’s people.

Perhaps even more remarkable is the way in which God alerted the Magi of Jesus’ birth and of its significance, and then guided them to his Son to worship him as Messiah. We are going to explore all of this in more detail on Sunday, but what it all points to is the fact that Jesus did not come into the world to be the Messiah of just one particular ethnic group, nor was he born to be the saviour of just one particular religious community. Jesus came as a gift to the whole world and to every single person in it, and whatever their religious or non-religious background might be God is actively drawing everyone to the amazing gift of his Son. All of that and more is what we are going to celebrate this Sunday at St. Paul’s.

On a sadder note, this Sunday will also be St. Paul’s last regular Sunday morning with the Gowan family (Christian, Jessie, Gillian & Elliot).

After more than six years of Christian Gowan leading our musical worship at the 10:30 service, and Jessie Gowan contributing to our parish’s ministry to children and youth, the Gowans are following a call to begin worshiping more regularly a little closer to home in Quispamsis. Worshiping closer to home will mean that their children can attend worship with their classmates and that Jessie and Christian will be able to invite their neighbours to experience Christian Community right there in their own neighbourhood.

We hope you can join us this Sunday morning following the 10:30am service as we gather for cake and coffee in honour of the Gowans and as we let them know just how much we appreciate them and everything that their family has contributed to the life of St. Paul’s.