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Every January I have to remind myself that, oh yeah, this is a crazy time of the year, which never seems quite right. The hectic Christmas season has just ended. The church calendar rushes us into Lent and Easter just a few weeks later. Shouldn’t we get a break? Shouldn’t life slow down for a bit? What happened to Epiphany?!

Epiphany is often celebrated the second Sunday after Christmas. Christians remember the Magi visit to Baby Jesus; the revelation of God to Gentiles. A Savior for all people. I like to think that it also represents an in-between time, a time when there are no big to-dos, no crises, no events calling for extra planning or preparation.

It's a time in which Christ — Grace, Hope, Joy, Peace — is revealed not through painful or stressful times that remind us of our need for a savior, but through the quiet mundane moments of life: a load of laundry, a sink full of dishes, a driveway to shovel, another day at work. It’s a time to remember the importance of enjoying the ordinary, status quo of our lives.

It may not feel exciting, or even purposeful, but there is much work to be done here. There are many revelations to discover. We are, perhaps, being prepared for something bigger that waits around the corner.

In a society obsessed with drama, success, constant comparisons between our lives and the lives of others, it’s easy to think that if we’re not doing something “big.” Or if no one seems to be noticing, then what we’re doing doesn’t matter. That we don’t matter.

But of course, it’s up to us to make EVERY moment matter. We need to live as though the attitude we bring to each ordinary day and those we encounter within it makes a difference. To trust that the kind deeds, the thoughtful words, the selfless acts, the bright smiles we share, are changing the world — one mundane, ordinary moment at a time.

Maybe for those who lived with Jesus, his daily meals with sinners or kind conversations with outcasts didn’t seem all that important. But in the light of the bigger events — his birth announced by angels, his death and resurrection — these daily duties of Jesus took on great significance. They showed us that the things we do in the mundane, ordinary times of our lives matter. Using these opportunities to offer to others what Christ offers to all — grace, hope, joy, peace — changes lives. And changed lives change the world.

Lent will be here soon. But don’t forget to embrace the Epiphany times of your life. There is important, life-changing work to be done here. Work that matters. Work that is preparing you for whatever God has in store. So go share a smile with a stranger, an appreciative word with your spouse, an encouragement with your child. Even if it seems unnoticed, it’s changing the world: yours!

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The Rev. Wendy Ochs is pastor of Evangelical United Methodist Church in Billings.

The Faith & Values column appears Saturdays in The Billings Gazette.

Pastors, ethicists, educators or others who would like to write a column about faith, ethics or values for the section, should contact: Susan Olp; The Billings Gazette; 401 N. Broadway; Billings, MT 5910, or call her at 657-1281; fax to her attention at 657-1208; or email to solp@billingsgazette.com.

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