So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son.

John 1:14, NLT

 

A crown a top a pastry to represent a "king cake".“Tell me about Epiphany,” I asked my friends.

I didn’t grow up in a church tradition that celebrated Epiphany, so my knowledge about the day and its traditions is very limited. A quick search on the Internet told me that, in the Western church, Epiphany marks the visitation of the Magi to the baby Jesus. Eastern Christian traditions, remember Jesus’ baptism by John the Baptist during Epiphany.

Whether you’re remembering the Magi or the moment God’s Spirit descended on Jesus in the form of a dove, there are many ways to celebrate. Here are just a few responses I received:

I grew up in a Latino community, so Tres Reyes is a big deal. We actually celebrate our family Christmas over Three Kings! You make a dessert called rosca de Reyes — it’s a sweet bread and if you find a baby Jesus figurine in your piece you make food (often tamales) for your family. —Ruthie

We keep all the Christmas decorations up for the full 12 days from Christmas to Epiphany, light our Advent wreath including the center Christmas candle and do Evening Prayer, keep one gift back to open until Epiphany, and I only listen to Christmas music from December 24 to January 6. —Jennifer

In our home, it means that the wise men who have been “traveling” all over the house during Advent (we hid them each night for the boys to find every morning) finally make it to the manger scene. —Michelle

Epiphany or Three Kings Day; celebrating the life of the promised one, honored by strangers who knew his importance. I grew up in a culture that celebrates it. Children leave shoeboxes full of grass for the king’s camel’s to eat while they sleep; finding a present in the box in the morning. —Sandy

No matter how we celebrate Epiphany — also known as the twelfth Day of Christmas — on that day (and every day) we are invited to consider the revelation of God in his Son as human in Jesus Christ.[1]

Will we ever be able to comprehend the Truth of God’s love for us — a love which compelled him to join us here, with our upset stomachs and halitosis and ingrown toenails and acne scars and bipolar disorders and addictions and criminal behavior and destruction and death?

He became like us, so we could be like him. Our beautiful celebrations of desserts and decorations, traveling wise men, shoeboxes of grass, and all the rest draw our hearts back to the indescribable grace of God becoming like us, for us. Thanks be to God.

QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION:

Do you celebrate Epiphany? How? When you hear that God revealed himself to us as human in Jesus Christ, how does that information affect you?

PRAYER:

Lord, it’s hard for me to fully understand the depth of your love for and acceptance of me. Thank you for moments to reflect on this great love. Thank you for extending yourself toward me, even when I’m not paying attention. You alone are worthy of all praise, and I worship you today. Amen.

 

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epiphany_(holiday)

 

Explore more at the Theology of Work Project online Bible commentaryIn the Beginning was the Word (John 1:1-18)
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3 Responses to Tell Me About Epiphany

  1. Nancy says:

    Epiphany is so often ignored. Thank you for reminding us of how special it can be.

  2. Joani Gohn says:

    One of our daughters was born on Epiphany. We told her how important her birth day is and have celebrated both her arrival and the arrival of the Magi each year.

  3. Barbara says:

    I’m amazed at how everything in the Bible is connected! Daniel, teaching in his school of prophecy, probably prompted the three wise men to search for the promised king. This came how many years later? Fascinating! Then, of course, the symbolism of the gentiles bringing gifts to the King of kings–born for salvation for all peoples. God is so good, so, amazing!