A Time Called…Epiphany
After Christmas and New Year’s, Epiphany could seem like a bit of an anticlimax. But think about a time when you received some wonderful news, so wonderful that you could scarcely believe it. Did you take it all in at once, or did you find that the full meaning was revealed over time? Epiphany is our time to contemplate the Christmas story and feel the wonder of the Magi as they saw the baby.
Historical Roots of the Christmas Season
January 6 is Epiphany. It is believed that Epiphany was initially based on the Jewish Feast of Light. In Western Christian tradition, over time, December 25 was established as the date to celebrate Christ’s birth, but the Eastern (Orthodox) tradition continues to celebrate it on January 6. In many parts of Canada, this day is referred to as “Ukrainian Christmas.”
Finding Meaning in the Tradition
For Christians, Epiphany begins on January 6. Epiphany, with its focus on the coming of the magi (traditionally representing various races of humanity) celebrates the universality of the gospel. God came for all people. Instead of putting away the crèche scene, it is a good time, in our homes, to gather the magi – especially if they have differing skin colours – and set them in the middle of the dining room table where we can gaze at them and consider God’s revelation to all nations. The season of Epiphany leads us toward the baptism of Jesus and the Sunday called “Transfiguration.”
Questions for Personal Meditation
- What does it mean to me to say that God is revealed to all people and all nations?
- We know that many people belong to other religions and already have a faith. How is God revealed to them?
- For some people today, ‘God’ is an empty word indicating no reality they have ever consciously known. How would you share the amazing news of God’s revelation with unbelievers?
(Source: The Presbyterian Church in Canada 2007 – used with permission)