Disciples, Apostles, and Saints!
Centuries before we celebrated Christmas, the earliest Christians developed a different feast in midwinter. The feast we know as the Epiphany was one of the earliest feasts. And along with Easter and Pentecost, formed a trio of essential worship for the early church.
The original context for the Epiphany was the Baptism of Jesus. But as it gained prominence in the West, Roman Catholics pinned it instead to the coming of the Wisemen, as described in the Gospel of Matthew.
Our current practice in The Episcopal Church is (unsurprisingly) to have it both ways. We celebrate the Epiphany on the day (January 6) and read about the wisemen. Then on the very next Sunday, we celebrate the Baptism of Our Lord.
So what then is the Epiphany about? The two gospel stories draw us in slightly different directions: one to the establishment of Jesus’s ministry and the other to the expansiveness of Jesus’s reign. But the spirit of the season is something bigger.
In the Epiphany, we are drawn into the revealing character of Jesus’s ministry. As in what God is revealing through Jesus. What Jesus reveals about God. How the whole project is showing us something. And in the end, how we then are invited into all of it.
As we move from this season of giving and move into this season of revealing, may we find our place in this project, receive the spirit’s invitation with grace, and offer to others an opportunity to find the Christ revealed through us.