As Epiphany is right around the corner, I have been reflecting on the significance of Advent, Christmastide, and Epiphany in relation to this podcast project. Upon consideration, Aporia: The Podcast has come about as a result of a more intentional observation of these seasons and their themes.

Advent is about the waiting, the uncertainty, and the groaning of God’s people for the coming of Christ. This past Advent season, I wrestled with my own daunting sense of uncertainty. After years of study, I have found myself at an impasse when thinking about my future. In the back of my mind the question, “What’s next?” haunted me. How could I use what I have learned to help students, teachers, administrators, board members, and parents? I wanted answers. But advent is also about waiting expectantly, with hope, knowing that God will provide in unexpected ways.

In some ways, the conception of the idea of Aporia: The Podcast was unexpected. I had tossed around the idea of writing a book for awhile (and even have a decently developed set of essays), but my mind could not justify publishing a book with my current years of experience and list of credentials. In my spirit, I knew it was not time to pursue writing and publishing a book (though I hope to upon completion of my doctorate in a few years). I spent months praying over ways I could share my passion for classical Christian education. Should I speak at conferences? Create a teaching workshop? Pursue a different job position? As I prayed, and have even pursued, the answer resounded: not yet. Yet one morning, as I was contemplating another educational quandary, the idea hit me. What about a podcast that discusses the state of aporia that many classical Christian educators experience?

When those gifts of ideas are given to us, it is one way in which we experience the divine grace of God. I am so thankful that in all the season of waiting and expectation, that I was able to experience an arrival.

There was a new sense of joy and peace for me over this Christmastide season. I was given a lovely, helpful gift (a reMarkable tablet) that has enabled me to develop this new idea and share my notes with others. I have “feasted” in a sense in conversations with my husband discussing the benefits and logistics of starting a podcast with my friend. In a new way, the longing and uncertainty opened my eyes to Advent, and the birth of the idea opened my eyes to view afresh the joyous birth of Christ our Savior. I found myself more aligning with the shepherds, who were simply doing their job one night and to their delight, were humbly brought into the story of God. And so it is with us.

Now, as the time of Epiphany draws near, I have been considering how lovely it is that it coincides with the season where we are maturing the plans for the podcast. As I have studied the concept of aporia, I have understood it as a humbling state. Aporia occurs when you experience a difficulty that makes you reconsider everything you thought you understood. When those moments happen, we need a revelation. Enter: Epiphany.

e·piph·a·ny| əˈpifənē | noun 

The manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles as represented by the Magi (Matthew 2:1–12); the festival commemorating the Epiphany on January 6; a manifestation of a divine or supernatural being; a moment of sudden revelation or insight. From Greek epiphainein, ‘reveal’.

As a literature teacher, the concept of epiphany is one of my favorite concepts to trace in works we read, particularly in Flannery O’Connor and James Joyce’s works. As I have l considered the celebration of Epiphany this year, I have seen how beautifully it coincides with the classical Christian tradition. The adoration of the Magi is evidence that God may be discovered by studying his creation; these men likely studied prophecies and God’s created order in the sky. That their studies led them to worship is the beauty of our way of learning. I would imagine that they experienced moments of aporia in their searching. Are we reading these signs correctly? Are we speaking to trustworthy people? Will we find this king? When we find him, what will it be like? Once we find him, how do we return home? Yet the journey must have been worth that moment of revelation and adoration.

Did those wise men know what awaited this king? The gifts seem to indicate some understanding of God’s glorious plan. The hymn says it beautifully:

We three kings of Orient are;
bearing gifts we traverse afar,
field and fountain, moor and mountain,
following yonder star.

O star of wonder, star of light, star with royal beauty bright, westward leading, still proceeding, guide us to thy perfect light.

Frankincense to offer have I;
incense owns a Deity nigh;
prayer and praising, voices raising, worshiping God on high.

O star of wonder, star of light, star with royal beauty bright, westward leading, still proceeding, guide us to thy perfect light.

Myrrh is mine; its bitter perfume
breathes a life of gathering gloom;
sorrowing, sighing, bleeding, dying,
sealed in the stone-cold tomb.

O star of wonder, star of light, star with royal beauty bright, westward leading, still proceeding, guide us to thy perfect light.

Glorious now behold him arise;
King and God and sacrifice:
Alleluia, Alleluia,
sounds through the earth and skies.

O star of wonder, star of light, star with royal beauty bright, westward leading, still proceeding, guide us to thy perfect light.

Through the traversing, through the impasses, through the aporia, there is hope of revelation and light: Epiphany. As I have studied this concept more, in the Eastern tradition, it seems as if they celebrate the baptism and first miracle of Christ during Epiphany as the revelation of God’s glory to man. As one of my favorite characters from the Eastern tradition, Alyosha Karamazov, says of the first miracle of Christ:

“Cana of Galilee, the first miracle… Ah, that miracle! Ah, that sweet miracle! It was not men’s grief, but their joy Christ visited, He worked His first miracle to help men’s gladness… Gladness, the gladness of some poor, very poor, people… Of course they were poor, since they hadn’t wine enough even at a wedding… The historians write that, in those days, the people living about the Lake of Gennesaret were the poorest that can possibly be imagined… and another great heart, that other great being, His Mother, knew that He had come not only to make His great terrible sacrifice. She knew that His heart was open even to the simple, artless merrymaking of some obscure and unlearned people, who had warmly bidden Him to their poor wedding. ‘Mine hour is not yet come,’ He said, with a soft smile (He must have smiled gently to her). And, indeed, was it to make wine abundant at poor weddings He had come down to earth? And yet He went and did as she asked Him…”

-Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov

God revealing himself for the simple joy of simple people. I am thankful to be counted among them. Throughout this process of developing Aporia: The Podcast I hope to grow more aware of God’s glory revealed in the goodness of Christ, and I hope to celebrate his glory where it is revealed in Christ’s followers.

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