Monday, January 6, 2014

Celebrating Epiphany Today?

You may not be aware that today (January 6) is celebrated by many Christians as the Feast of Epiphany.  The name is from the Greek work "epihanos"--which means "manifestation, showing forth" as in the Lord Jesus being manifested to the world.  While the meaning is agreed upon, what the day marks is differs, depending on what historic tradition your church comes from.

It is called Twelfth Day or Twelfth Night as it is the last of the 12 days of Christmas.  On the church calendar, Epiphany is not just a day, but the season of the calendar up to Ash Wednesday, which begins Lent.  Between his birth and the days leading up to his death, Christ was manifesting himself to the world.

It is sometimes called "Three Kings Day" in the Western/Roman/Anglican Christian world, and is a celebration of the arrival of the wise men to the home of the baby Jesus in Bethlehem.  This was the manifestation of Jesus to the Gentile world of the magi, not just as the Savior of the Gentiles.

In the Eastern/Orthodox Christian churches, the manifestation is of Jesus at his baptism, when then Holy Spirit comes upon him and the Father speaks from Heaven.  This was Jesus being publicly manifested to people through the power of the Spirit and the Father.  Because Eastern churches follow the old, Julian calendar, their Epiphany falls on January 19--thirteen days behind the Gregorian calendar we use.

Many of those who celebrate Epiphany also commemorate the first miracle of Jesus, which manifested him to his disciples--the turning of water into wine at Cana, in Galilee.

It is a great idea to celebrate Jesus being made manifest to the world in these moments of his life.  But today, the manifestation of Jesus to the world is us--the Church.  We are his Body, and if the world wants to see Jesus, they are to look and see him in us.

So, if you celebrate Epiphany, make sure you honor the manifested Savior my letting people see him in your life!