Epiphany means “manifestation” or “showing forth.” The feast celebrates the coming of the Magi to see the Christ Child. The full title of the feast tells its meaning – “The Epiphany of our Lord Jesus Christ: The Manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles.”
The traditional depiction of the Gentile Magi as African, Asian and Caucasian emphasizes that meaning. The good news of Jesus is for everyone; God’s love reaches out to embrace people of every race and nation, humanity in all its myriad manifestations.
THE SEASON OF EPIPHANY
Revelations of God in Christ
“What child is this?” we sang at Christmas. Sunday by Sunday, the Epiphany season unfolds the meaning of the Incarnation: God come among us in a child fully human, fully divine.
The first Sunday after the feast celebrates the Baptism of Christ, his revelation as God’s beloved Son. This year (Year C) the second Sunday brings John’s story of the Wedding at Cana and the first “sign” by which Jesus “revealed his glory”: turning water into wine. The last Sunday of the season recounts the Transfiguration of Jesus, the dazzling brightness of his divinity shining through the cloak of his human flesh.
A Great Light Shining in the Darkness
The Transfiguration of Jesus is the culmination of the other major theme of the season: Light and enlightenment – the Great Light revealed in the birth of Jesus at Christmas illumining the darkness of the world and of our own hearts and minds. In the northern hemisphere, where the liturgical calendar originated, nature itself is a sign of that growing enlightenment, as the days gradually lengthen following the winter solstice.
Throughout the season, we see the light of the knowledge of God in Christ spreading outward in Jesus’ calling of his first disciples and their ministry throughout Galilee and in the early church far and wide through the journeys and letters of the apostles.
Join us as the season of Epiphany reveals to us the many ways God’s Love and Light, born into the world at Christmas, are manifest in all the moments of our lives, ordinary and extraordinary.