What is Epiphany?
Dear Starmount Friends,
This Sunday we have the unique opportunity to worship together on Epiphany. There are many churches that have a special service each year on this high Holy Day, but this year it just happens to fall on a Sunday.
What is Epiphany you might ask? The word “epiphany” comes from the Greek word “epiphaneia” which means appearance or manifestation. It was commonly used in ancient times to refer to a visit or an appearance by a god in some visible form. Christians would continue to use this term in the same way as they began to form theological concepts that described their beliefs about Jesus Christ.
Throughout the season of Advent we often hear the word Immanuel used in our scripture readings. You may remember that Immanuel means “God with us.” In fact, that is what we celebrate at Christmas – that God came to this earth in the person of Jesus. The focus of Epiphany is slightly different. At Epiphany we celebrate the revelation of God to the world – that God was made known to us in the person of Jesus.
The Biblical narrative that accompanies Epiphany is the visit of the Magi, or wise men, to the baby Jesus found in Matthew 2:1-12. We often hear this story on Christmas Eve and imagine the Magi gathered there along with the shepherds next to the manger. However, their visit most likely came much later. Their visit is significant because the Magi were Gentiles who came from foreign lands. Indeed, their recognition of a new born king and their pilgrimage to visit the Christ child reminds us that Christ was born not just for some, but for all of humanity, Jews and Gentiles alike.
I hope you will join us this Sunday as we hear more about this story and as we celebrate Epiphany together!