THE FEAST OF THE EPIPHANY — Sunday, January 6, 2013
THE FEAST OF THE EPIPHANY
Sunday, January 6, 2013
Epiphany is a Greek word meaning “manifestation” or “appearing.” At the Feast of the Epiphany we celebrate Jesus being made manifest or appearing as Christ. Traditionally, there are three manifestations celebrated on this feast day.
The most widely celebrated manifestation of Christ on this feast day, and the one that has been historically celebrated by Christian churches in the West, is Jesus revealed as Christ to the three wise men, or Magi, from the East, who followed the Star of Bethlehem at Jesus’ birth.
The second manifestation celebrated today is the baptism of Jesus in the River Jordan. Although this was part of the original Epiphany celebrations in second-century Christian churches in the East, by the fourth century Western churches had largely stopped observing the Holy Baptism in Epiphany celebrations.
The 1979 Book of Common Prayer began to reintroduce Jesus’ baptism into this celebration by revising the lectionary readings for the First Sunday After the Epiphany to include gospel passages each year about Christ’s baptism. The First Sunday After the Epiphany is now also known as the Baptism of Our Lord.
The third manifestation of Jesus as Christ that is traditionally celebrated on this day is the miracle of turning water into wine at the wedding at Cana in Galilee, Christ’s first recorded miracle.