An Epiphany Primer for the Curious and Confused

A life-long Baptist, I’ve had to be self-taught in the traditional church calendar. The next important date on that calendar is “Epiphany,” so, from this liturgically-curious-evangelical to you, I present a brief primer on Epiphany:

Epiphany:

  • a sudden manifestation or divine revelation;
  • the celebration of Christ’s revelation to the Gentiles through the wise men;
  • a sudden realization, an “a-ha moment;” the big reveal;
  • a Christian feast day on January 6th;
  • the day the Christmas tree comes down.

Associated with:

Implications for the Christian Life:

  • The responsibility to shine the light of Christ on the whole world.
  • The reminder that just as the Bethlehem star was a sign, so are all stars signs:

The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they reveal knowledge.
They have no speech, they use no words;
no sound is heard from them.
Yet their voice goes out into all the earth,
their words to the ends of the world. — Psalm 19:1-4

  • The revelation of the divine in all of a world created by and for Christ’s glory — the Christ-child, hidden in a cake; Divine speech, hidden in the stars; God incarnate, hidden in a dingy animal trough; God’s presence in wine and bread; God’s image in the face of my neighbor; new life hidden in the dying seed under the cold winter ground. Every day offers such epiphanies of grace.

An Epiphany Prayer (from the Book of Common Prayer)

O God, by the leading of a star you manifested your only Son to the Peoples of the earth: Lead us, who know you now by faith, to your presence, where we may see your glory face to face; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

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