Epiphany. Well, what does it mean to you? What’s the big deal about Epiphany? Decide for yourself.
Here is the “official” description of Epiphany shared by our Episcopal Church in its book Holy Women, Holy Men:
The name “Epiphany” is derived from a Greek word meaning “manifestation” or “appearing.” Anglican Prayer Books interpret the word with an alternative title, “The Manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles.” The last phrase, of course, is a reference to the story of the Wise Men from the East.
A Christian observance on January 6 is found as early as the end of the second century in Egypt. The feast combined commemorations of the visit of the Magi, led by the star of Bethlehem; the Baptism of Jesus in the waters of the River Jordan; and Jesus’ first recorded miracle, the changing of water into wine at the marriage of Cana of Galilee—all thought of as manifestations of the incarnate Lord.
The Epiphany is still the primary Feast of the Incarnation in Eastern Churches, and the three-fold emphasis is still prominent. In the West, however, including Anglican Churches, the story of the Wise Men has tended to overshadow the other two events. Modern lectionary reform, reflected in the 1979 Prayer Book, has recovered the primitive trilogy, by setting the event of the Baptism as the theme of the First Sunday after the Epiphany in all three years, and by providing the story of the Miracle at Cana as the Gospel for the Second Sunday after the Epiphany in Year C. Page 158
Here is another write up that we can discuss in the Sunday Morning Forum. As you will see, I/we might dispute some of what is written here:
Epiphany — which is variously known as Theophany, Three Kings Day and El Dia de los Tres Reyes — is a Christian celebration of the revelation of the birth of Jesus to the wider world. This is embodied most in the story of three wise men visiting a newborn Jesus with gifts, found in the Gospel of Matthew 2:1-12. Read the article and view more images of Epiphany.
I encourage you to view the pictures that accompany the article (above) about Epiphany. There is no disputing that the Feast is observed and celebrated these thousand of years later in ways to capture the imagination and the heart.