Epiphany: Christ is Manifest
One of the things I want to do this year is pay more attention to the liturgical year, the Church calendar. I have been thinking a lot about rhythm lately and about the importance of setting a rhythm for my life (as I think I have shared in previous posts and I’m sure I will talk about more in future posts) and this celebrating and recognizing the Church calendar is one rhythm that I would like to incorporate into my life this year and in the years to come. I began this blog with that thought in mind and focused a lot of my thoughts and blog entries on Advent and on entering into the first season of the Christian year (Advent marks the beginning of the church calendar). So, today is January 8th here (though it is still Jan. 7th for many of you in the states) and we have now entered the season of the church calendar known as Epiphany. To be honest I knew (and still know) very little about Epiphany. It is perhaps the season of the church calendar that I have the least amount of previous knowledge about – as you can tell by the fact that I am a few days late starting to talk about it – technically January 6th starts Epiphany and in some traditions it is celebrated as a one day event, but for most of the liturgical church Epiphany is more than just a day it is a season that begins on January 6th and extends for four to nine Sundays (followed by the first period of Ordinary Time before the beginning of Lent) or in some traditions Epiphany lasts up until Ash Wednesday. Whenever it ends it is clear that we are now in the season known as Epiphany and so I’d like to share a little bit of what I found when I was doing some research on Epiphany this morning…
Epiphany begins on January 6th with the celebration of the Three Wise Men coming to Jesus (or in some traditions with the celebration of Christ’s baptism). Personally it seems fitting to me that it would be a commemoration of the Magi coming to Christ as this is sequentially the next part of the story of Jesus life. The term Epiphany means “to show forth”, “to make known” or “to reveal” and it is the time of the church calendar that we celebrate and remember God revealing Himself to mankind. It begins by remembering God making Himself known as Lord and King to the Magi and it continues with celebrating other events in Christ’s life when He revealed Himself to humanity. We also remember that the Magi’s response to God’s manifesting His son’s birth through the star is to go and proclaim the birth – they leave their comfort and travel to find the one who has been born king of the Jews and along the way they tell of his birth and make known his coming to those they come across. Epiphany is a time for us to remember that Christ is God manifest to us and it is also a time for us to respond to that revelation like the Magi did by coming to Him and manifesting Him to others. As Christine Sine put it in her blog (as a side note for those of you who enjoy reading blogs I highly recommend hers, I found it only about two months ago but have really enjoyed reading it – she has really challenged my thinking on a number of occasions) …. “This [Epiphany] is when we are meant to celebrate the revealing of Jesus as God. We rejoice in the fact that through his entry into human history Christ’s lordship over all creation is revealed, made manifest and unveiled. We are also reminded that Christ is still present among us as a messenger of hope for all peoples and we are encouraged to embrace God’s call to “come and see, come and follow, go and tell others” about the God who loved us so much that he sent his son to live amongst us.”Lord, make yourself known to us… reveal yourself to us anew through your Son and through the working of your Holy Spirit in our lives. Lord, do this not for our own sake but for the sake of your Glory – that we might manifest you more fully in our words and deeds and our very lives. May this Epiphany be a time when you show yourself to us in new and more complete ways - revealing yourself as you are and not just as we imagine you to be. Lord, may this Epiphany also be a time when you would give us open eyes to see the world around us as well – show us the world as it is, reveal to us what you are doing in your world and make known to us how we can join you in bringing your restoring and redeeming kingdom of peace to the world we live in. Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly and abundantly beyond what we ask or imagine to him be glory in the Church and in Christ Jesus both now and forever. Amen.
Rejoicing in the journey - Beth Stedman