Christmas is a season, not merely a night and a day. We keep Christmas for twelve days concluding on January 6, Epiphany. Epiphany was and is a festival in the eastern churches. It is traditionally a baptismal day, especially where, early in the Eastern tradition, the baptism of Christ was seen as the proclamation of Christ’s adoption as the Son of God.
Over the centuries January 6, known as Three Kings Day, became an important Christian celebration in the churches in the Caribbean, observed with processions, pageants, and gift-giving.
Epiphany usually falls on a weekday and this has led some churches to transfer the celebration to an adjacent Sunday. This year, we’ll celebrate it on Sunday, January 8th.
“The gospel for Epiphany is the manifestation of Jesus Christ to the whole world as symbolized locally by King Herod, geographically by the visiting magi, and cosmically by the star. The gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh suggest not necessarily three visitors but the recognition of the infant as a king who, worshiped as divine, will be buried in a tomb. The first reading, from Isaiah 60, calls the people of God to rejoice at the light of God shattering the darkness of the world. According to the worldview of the poet, all people, even famous foreign kings, arrive to praise the light. It is an example of the influence of the Old Testament on the New that the kings of Isaiah 60:3 have, in Christians’ minds, been superimposed upon the astrologers of whom Matthew writes. The reading from Ephesians is a magnificent passage that speaks of the mystery of the revelation of God in Christ. Epiphany calls us to join the magi as they see the surprising manifestation of the glory of God in the child Jesus.” Keeping Time – Evangelical Lutheran worship
At worship for Epiphany, we will give out chalk and teach you how to do a house blessing. You use chalk to mark the doorframe of your home with the year and the letters C, M, B. The letters stand for Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar, the names traditionally given to the magi, and also for the Latin phrase Christe mansionem benedict, which translates “Christ, bless this house”. So, the inscription on the doorframe would look like this:
20 + CMB + 17
Now you know a couple Epiphany traditions so have fun with this and a blessed Christmas and Epiphany to you.
- Pastor Emily