Gainesville District



Greetings Gainesville District!

           I love that at the beginning of every new year, we celebrate Epiphany! Latin American countries have wonderful celebrations on Epiphany and decorate with amazing images of the Magi.  In the US, most of us have packed up all of the Christmas decorations and have long forgotten about “Away in a Manger.”  But standing at the beginning of the New Year, the Christian Year has us celebrate Epiphany, the revealing of God not only to the Magi, but to the whole world!

            The word epiphany means an experience of a sudden and striking revelation or realization.  People will say that they have had an epiphany when they experience a sudden insight or discover meaning that before seemed hidden. In order to have an epiphany, one must remain open and willing to accept something they have never even imagined.  One statement about epiphany posits:  “The crucial truth about an epiphany is, it cannot be predicted or controlled.”

            While King Herod tried to control the visit of the Magi in order to maintain his power, the Magi are open to whoever and whatever they might discover.  They have no preconceived notions of who this king might be or exactly where he might be found. They weren’t just trying to solve an astrological problem or answer a question of science or prove their own hypothesis. They were sincerely seeking the truth, seeking the One who was born under this special star. 

            In his 52 page poem, “For the Time Being: A Christmas Oratorio,” W. H. Auden has each of the magi give a reason for why he follows the star, and then a chorus comes where all three express their common quest.           

            In the poem, The First Wise Man says: To discover how to be truthful now, Is the reason I follow this star.

           The Second Wise Man says: To discover how to be living now, Is the reason I follow this star.          

           The Third Wise Man says:  To discover how to be loving now, Is the reason I follow this star.          

           And then all together the Three Wise Men say: To discover how to be human now, is the reason we follow this star.[1]

           Auden captures the essence of the Magi’s way of being in this world as that of discovery without any preconceived notions or requirements other than an openness to what might be, an openness to possibility, an openness to finding something beyond their limited imagination.  And Matthew reports in his Gospel, “They were overwhelmed with joy” at the One they found.

           While the Magi were overwhelmed with joy at this unexpected miracle, King Herod was filled with anger and embarked on a crusade to kill all of the male children under two years of age.  The Magi sought God’s unexpected Epiphany, and King Herod sought to destroy what he couldn’t control.

           As we enter into this new year, 2020, may we be willing to journey with the magi, to pursue God’s gentle light, and to remain open to discover all that God might reveal to us.  And, most of all, may we be overwhelmed with joy! 



[1] For the Time Being, in The Collected Poetry of W. H. Auden (New York: Random House, 1945), 429-31


District Superintendent

Alice Rogers
(770) 536-2586
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Administrative Assistant

Holley Butkovich
(770) 536-2586

Contact Information

343 Northside Drive  
Gainesville, GA 30501  

(770) 536-2586 Phone
(770) 536-7188 Fax