Happy New Year, my friends, and a blessed Epiphany Day to you.
I didn’t grow up celebrating Epiphany, but each year I am learning more about this special observance and have had the best time with the Lord delving into extended research on it this morning. Though we didn’t plan it this way, (we just haven’t been home enough yet) our Christmas decorations are still up, and in light of what I’m learning about Epiphany and the Twelve Days of Christmas, the presence of our decorated and lighted tree has been a sweet and comforting blessing. I almost hate to see it packed away…. Then again, I’m really looking forward to reclaiming a “clean” look to our living spaces – you know what I mean. 😉
I’m certainly no expert, but I did want to pass along some of what I’ve learned so far about Epiphany. This is a wonderful website about all of the Christian observances during the church year, and much of what I’m sharing is expounded upon on this site. When you have the time, I highly encourage you to visit and study through this site, link by link. I promise, you’ll be blessed!
Did you know that the traditional 12 days of Christmas are not the 12 days leading up to Christmas, but the 12 days afterward? In most of the Western church culture, the 12 days of Christmas begin either on Christmas night (Dec. 25) or the next morning (Dec. 26) and extend through January 6th, which is known as Epiphany. It’s also known as the Twelfth Day, and many families have another gathering of family, friends, and gifts on this occasion. Me? I’m just observing it with the immediate family and Jesus this year.
Epiphany means “to show,” “to make known,” or “to reveal.” It is a part of the Christmas season where we are to reflect on how the wise men sought out the Christ-Child, brought Him gifts, and revealed Jesus to the on-looking world as the Real Lord and King.
It is a time where we focus on the truth that those who seek Jesus will find Him, just as the Wise Men did. When the Wise Men bowed down to Jesus and presented Him their valuable gifts, they acknowledged Him as King of all Kings… not just King of the religious people, but King of everyone, of you and of me. PTL!
Some celebrate a “Season of Epiphany” – and that’s what I’m planning on doing this year. This season begins today, January 6, and will last until Ash Wednesday. During this time, many will reflect upon the life of Jesus, the Gift of Jesus, and the mission of Jesus and His church body in light of the Nativity. I don’t want to go back to “normal life” after such a beautiful Advent season with Jesus. Do you? My desire is to go deeper and deeper with Jesus into what it means to belong to Him, to be filled by Him, and to be poured out for His glory… to seek Him and to find Him as I search for Him with all my heart (Jer. 29:13).
On his website referenced above, Dennis Bratcher writes,
“The traditional liturgical symbols of Epiphany are usually associated with the Magi. The symbols include either three crowns or a single crown, various portrayals of the Magi or Wise Men, three gifts, a five pointed star, or a combination of a star and crown. A more modern symbol of Epiphany is a globe or a stylized portrayal of the world.”
Around January 6, the symbol +C+M+B+ with two numbers before and two numbers after (for example, 20+C+M+B+14) is sometimes seen written in chalk above the doorway of Christian homes. The letters are the initials of the traditional names of the Three Magi: Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar. These letters also abbreviate the Latin phrase Christus mansionem benedicat, “May Christ bless the house.” The beginning and ending numbers are the year, 2014 in the example above. The crosses represent Christ.”
I love this. Don’t you? And for those chalk-board-crazies like me, who wouldn’t adore an excuse for another chalkboard or chalk writing around the home? 😉 I’m planning on putting this above my door today! And, as a family, we’ll be having a simple Epiphany dinner tonight.
For any who wish to remain in a Season of Epiphany, these days ahead should be set aside to focus or re-focus on the true mission of our lives: glorifying God and sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ and reaching others by “showing” Jesus as the Savior of all people. This is what the wise men did, and this is what wise men and women continue to do today.
As we move ahead into this new year, let’s do it in a spirit of Epiphany… of seeking and of showing Jesus Christ in the midst of all we do.
It is a wise man and a wise woman who will seek the Lord, because:
“The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him,
to the one who seeks him;”
Happy new week, new year, and Season of Epiphany to you all ~
If you’d like to learn more about Epiphany, this is an excellent web article.