18 Dec Epiphany: Christ revealed to all
The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.
I grew up in a Church tradition where the feast of the Epiphany is a central part of the Church calendar and a day we celebrate every year. During twelve-tide, the twelve days between Christmas Day and 5 January, I would observe three beautiful representations of the magi slowly making their way from one side of the church, across the front of the altar. On the day of Epiphany, 6 January, the magi would arrive before the Christ child to offer their gifts. I always recall this being a day of great joy, and, to this day, I still feel the same sense of joy and gratitude when approaching this feast.
So, what is the importance of the Epiphany and why do so many celebrate it each year? Firstly, it’s important to note that the feast of the Epiphany includes not just the magi’s adoration of Christ but also Christ’s baptism in the Jordan and the wedding at Cana—three events where the divinity of Christ is revealed through his humanity.
At Christmas, we celebrate the Incarnation, God becoming man, the Lord of all coming as a small helpless child. To begin, this extraordinary event was witnessed by just a few: Jesus’s parents, some shepherds, and a few animals. It isn’t until the Epiphany when the light of Christ is made known to all people, Gentile and Jew, and to all of the cosmos. The three events of Epiphany—the magi, baptism, and wedding—symbolise the revelation of Christ to all humanity. They announce to the whole world that this person is the fully human and fully divine Son of God. This is why we celebrate the Epiphany!
This twelve-day journey from Christmas day to Epiphany, from birth to full revelation of God as man, is a wonderful time in the Church calendar. We follow the example of the magi and seek after Christ, to sit in adoration before him, and then to go and share the hope of this message of light.
This is our story; this is the moment when we were brought into the family of God and made coheirs of his kingdom. So celebrate! Light candles, sing praises to God, meditate on Scripture, share a meal with family and friends, and proclaim the truth of the world! Live out our mandate as sons and daughters of God and take the light of truth that we have received and be a blessing to creation.
May the light of the Epiphany reveal more of God’s truth and fill your hearts with a renewed sense of calling.
Readings to meditate on for 6 January:
First Reading: Isaiah 60:1–6
Second Reading: Ephesians 3:2–6
Gospel Reading: Matthew 2:1–12