In the Christian Church Calendar which is used in Protestant, Catholic and Orthodox Churches, the year is divided into periods of time called SEASONS. We are just coming out of The Christmas Season, before that you will remember (our) Pastor Bill took us through the Season of Advent, a time of preparation leading into the Christmas Season. The Next great Season is known as the Lenten Season which takes us through, in preparation to Good Friday and the Easter SEASON followed very closely (in six weeks) by the Great Feast of The Church – PENTECOST.
Every other period of time which does not fall into one of the SEASONS is known rather arbitrarily as Ordinary Time.
Today we celebrate another special feast, (this is technically still a part of the Christmas Season) and it is called the feast of THE EPIPHANY.
An epiphany (from the ancient Greek, epiphaneia, “manifestation, striking appearance”) is the sudden realization or comprehension of the (larger) meaning of something.
The word epiphany originally referred to insight through the divine. Today, this concept is used much more often and without such connotations, but a popular implication remains that the epiphany is supernatural, as the discovery comes suddenly from the outside of oneself.
In Protestant, Catholic and Orthodox circles January 6th (or the closest Sunday) is celebrated as the day when the Magi visited the infant child Jesus. Some see it as the time (the first time) Jesus was manifest to the Gentiles. The Magi are said to have come from the east – were not of Jewish decent and were therefore Gentiles. What a revelation!
When I asked my DH about the first time he heard the word Epiphany used, he related it to something his Sister In Law told him about their wedding anniversary (January 6th) being on the Epiphany – it meant nothing to him other than a ‘striking idea’…… kind of a secular term and nothing theological.
So YES today is a special FEAST or commemoration of the visitation of the Magi, who came bearing gifts of Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh to the New born King of the Jews. It is worth celebrating and considered as a BRIDGE of sorts, between the Christmas Season and the Lenten Season fast approaching.
However I rather like the word EPHIPHANY it does kind of roll off the tongue, even if it is hard to spell – and I just knew there was more to it than a remembrance of an event long past.
St. Paul on the Road to Damascus in Acts Chapter 9 was blinded by his Epiphany
On the Mountain where the Transfiguration occurred in Matt 17, the three – Peter, James and John, were so blinded by the Divine Revelation (Epiphany) they could hardly make coherent conversation. “Let us put up three tents for you…..”
What about when Elizabeth was pregnant with the unborn child (to be known as The Baptist) The baby leapt for joy in Elizabeth’s womb….. I guess one could call that a Fetal Epiphany. Luke 1:41
And it would be possible to postulate that Mary of Nazareth – Mother of Jesus, had an Epiphany when the Angel told her she was to be the Christ Bearer. (Luke 1:28) Talk about a Divine Revelation!
Do you think Mary Magdalene may have had an Epiphany on the first day of the week when she visited the tomb where her Master had been buried? John 20
So do we have EPIPHANIES? We should you know.
A sudden realization or comprehension of the (larger) essence or meaning of something when studying –
- the miracles of Jesus
- the parables of Jesus
- the prophecies of Jesus
- the teachings of Jesus, such as the Sermon on the Mount
As a closing thought – here is an EPIPHANY MOMENT I HAD which I am glad to share with you……. Remember it is a “Divinely inspired” revelation…. Not one of my own “Ah Ha”…. light bulb moments!
AND remember, those Magi from the East sure had a divinely inspired revelation when they were led to the new born King of the Jews.
They had an EPIPHANY.