Summary: Epiphany marks the manifestation of the light of God’s revelation in the Incarnation.
1) The Character of Epiphany in History
Epiphany marks the manifestation of the light of God’s revelation in the Incarnation. Different manifestations of Christ’s glory and divinity were celebrated throughout history. In the past faithful saints reflected on Christ’s baptism, the miracle at Cana, the Nativity, and of course the visit of the Magi. This last action is most commonly associated with Epiphany today. The Magi was, after all, an astral, star-led quest. It fulfilled Numbers 24:17, “A Star shall come out of Jacob; A Scepter shall rise out of Israel.”
2) The Concept of Epiphany in Scripture
The word, “Epiphany” is pregnant with biblical meaning. The word is found in the Greek New Testament as “epiphano” - It means “give light, shine on” or “be manifested, appear.” Zechariah’s Benedictus says, “The Sunrise from on high shall visit us, to give light [epiphano] to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death” (Luke 1:78-79). Paul says, “But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared [epiphano].” Jesus birth makes Epiphany a reality.
3) The Celebration of Epiphany in Community
As we read the whole Bible, and see our faith in continuity with the Hebrew servants of God, it is fitting that we celebrate in terms of light. To the ancient Israelites, light was precious. While the Greeks sought knowledge, the Romans sought glory, the Hebrews pursued the light of revelation. But the light was always to shine for the Gentiles. Epiphany was traditionally the climax of Christmastide and the Twelve Days of Christmas.
Questions For Little Saints
1) What does Epiphany mean? Epiphany means the light of Jesus shining to all people.
2) Where is Epiphany in the Bible ? In the Bible Epiphany themes are in the visit of Magi, the star over Bethlehem, the visit of Jesus with Simeon in the Temple, and verses about light to the nations.
3) On which day does the Church celebrate Epiphany? The Church celebrates Epiphany on Friday, January 6, 2006, twelve days after Christmas.
4) What should we do because of Epiphany? We should give money and pray for Churches, pastors, and missionaries to take the gospel of Jesus’ light to people in darkness.
5) How should we pray? We should pray, “O GOD, who by the leading of a star didst manifest thy only-begotten Son to the Gentiles; Mercifully grant that we, who know thee now by faith, may after this life have the fruition of thy glorious Godhead; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. (Book of Common Prayer)