What in the world is Epiphany anyway?

What in the world is Epiphany anyway?


What does the sacrament of communion have to do with Epiphany? And what in the world is Epiphany anyway? If your calendar is like mine you’ll notice a special (but usually over-looked holiday) on January 6th. Most frequently known as Epiphany, it has also been called “Three Kings Day” or in Spanish speaking cultures “Dia de Reyes”.  For those traditionalists out there it signals the end of the “Twelve Days of Christmas”. My grandma would tell you it’s the day when you are officially to take down the Christmas tree. But what’s this day all about? Well, first, a Bible lesson: If you were paying attention at the children’s Christmas program you learned that our “traditional” view of the manger scene with angels, and shepherd, and wise men isn’t biblically sound. The truth is that the “wise men” didn’t actually visit Jesus until he was older, usually estimated around the age of 2(If you want to read the story for yourself it is found in Matthew 2). Symbolically, the story is the tale of individuals seeking meaning and answers to some unusual sight or experience in their lives. Throughout church history, this story has been used to emphasize outreach and evangelism to non-Jewish and/or non-Christian peoples.

When we listen closely to this story, told on the heels of the birth of Jesus into the world, the question we must ask ourselves is this: What are we seeking? What hopes have we clung to expectantly, what visions have we been waiting to see fulfilled.  It was a star that brought the wise men to seek out Jesus. They did not know the stories and prophecies but rather saw something amazing and new in creation and found themselves drawn by this sign to seek out its source, its revelation. The star was for the wise men what the      sacraments are for us today: tangible evidence into the mystery and wonder of God’s revelation to us. Participating in the sacrament of Holy Communion, eating the bread and drinking the cup, offers us a glimpse into the mystery of our faith, a foretaste of salvation. The sacraments themselves are not what we worship, but what point us toward the source—they point us to God. Just as the star was not the focus of the worship of the magi. As a Christian faith community, our experiences of the sacred, the revelation we have in Jesus Christ offers us a unique opportunity for witness. Through our actions, our programs, our outreach, we, as a church, can be that amazing light, that wondrous star that draws others into experiencing the joy and wonder of Jesus in their own lives. What we do, our missions, our giving, our presence in the community is not meant to garner praise for ourselves but rather to serve as that which points others to the source of that love, that grace, that power…..we shine so that others may experience God’s light through us.


May the light of God shine through you in this Season of Epiphany!


Pastor Tara