January 6…the Day of Epiphany. Now the 12 days of Christmas are complete, and the Day of Epiphany is here. Many are not aware that Epiphany is actually an older celebration than Christmas.
The focus of Epiphany is the story of the Wise Men, or magi. Some believe Jesus was perhaps 2 years old before they arrived from the East with their precious gifts. It was their arrival that alerted the paranoid Herod of Jesus’ existence, making it necessary for Joseph to flee with Mary and Jesus into Egypt to avoid Herod’s slaughter of the children “in and around Bethlehem who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had learned from the wise men.” (Mt 2:16)
We will celebrate Epiphany this Sunday and this story of the strange visitors we so often call Wise Men. Who were they? What stirred them to make the long journey? What does this story teach us? Would they have arrived earlier if they had had a couple of Wise Women along? (Just kidding!)
Epiphany completes a 3-point cycle on the Church’s liturgical calendar: Advent/Preparation-Christmas/Celebration-Epiphany/(Manifestation. (Lent-Easter-Pentecost is the other great cycle of the year.) In coming weeks, we will concentrate on other Epiphany themes, such as the baptism of Jesus (next week), his miracles, and, on the last Sunday before Lent begins, his Transfiguration.
Light is a theme of Epiphany—you may remember this time last year we had a sermon series on the significance of light. It’s all about God being revealed and made manifest in Jesus of Nazareth.
Over these next few weeks, we’ll be reading and learning and asking what the scriptures have to say about our visioning process as this “Year of Visioning” begins. Do you have a personal vision of where you believe God is calling you? Do you believe God is revealing a vision for where First Church is being called into the future? Let’s pray together and worship together and seek these things together during this season.
See You Sunday as we look to the Star…and beyond!