Icon of Jesus' BaptismThis article first appeared in the January, 2009 edition of The Adopted Life.

One night a few years back I was working late in my home office, intently typing away in the dark, bathed in the glow of a computer screen. Suddenly, I had that strange sensation of being watched. I turned around in my swivel chair and there was my 5 year-old daughter.

Now, Emily is a very pretty girl, with her mom’s brown hair and fair skin and my blue eyes. But in the dark of night, in the glow of a computer screen, arriving unexpectedly, her fair skin seemed supernaturally pale and her fine brown hair seemed zombie-like.

Surprised to see her, for one nano-second, she seemed to me to be some ghost-child from beyond the grave sent to harvest my soul and destroy the world. For one thousandth of a second I was terrified, and in that brief moment of surprise I screamed. (I wish I could say I let out a manly yell, but I have to admit it was more scream than anything).

Emily did what any 5 year-old would do under such circumstances – she screamed back in terror. And when she screamed it startled my already fear-addled brain and I screamed again! At this point she began to cry, since it was all very confusing, and I began to laugh since my one second of terror had now passed and I knew what was really happening to us.

For a brief moment I had believed a lie. I believed that my precious, beautiful daughter was a zombie spawn of hell come to kill me. And then that moment passed and the light dawned on me, and I was revealed to be an idiot who can be scared by anything. As the Greeks would say, I had an epiphany – and I thought “Eureka!” (literally, “I have found it!”) “this is no ghost, it’s Emily!”

I think that a million years from now human history will look to us something like that one second of terror that Emily and I experienced. One day we’ll look back and realize we were all scared for no reason.

Epiphany (this Sunday, January 6) is such a moment in the celebration of the Christian year. It is a moment when the light dawns and a revelation takes place. Gentile Wise Men come to worship the King of the Jews, and as he is baptized the Holy Spirit descends and the Father says “This is my beloved Son.”

And these epiphanies reveal to us that our fears in the night, and the lies we have believed in the dark, have all been dispelled and proven false by the coming of the Light of the World. Someday we may even be able to look back on it all and laugh.

Eureka! We have seen The Light

~ Jonathan Stepp

4 comments so far

  1. Prokopto on

    Jonathan, you are so right. Many times I have lived out of the lie of some contrived fear whether it was a fear of a judging temperamental god or that some past wrong would catch up to me in a Karma-like way. There can be no fear or uncertainty in the life of the Trinity. If I am indeed here for Their Life then my fear is merely a startled reaction to a lie that I am walking in agreement with if even for a moment. I really appreciated this post. Bless you. Pray that the human race learns to walk in agreement with the Truth… Jesus Christ.

  2. Jonathan Stepp on

    Thanks, Prokopto, glad you liked the post – cool username, by the way.

  3. kuhlmancraig on


    Loved it “again, for the first time,” just as I had when you posted it originally.

    I hope everything is going so well for you, Beth, Emily, and Lewis.

    Stay well, my friend,

    • Jonathan Stepp on

      Thanks Craig! Everything is going great for us, thanks for all your prayers for us as we’ve made our big move.

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