Well, we all know what it means, don’t we? Epiphany is from the Greek word epiphaneia, meaning “appearance,” or “manifestation.” In the church, Epiphany is the season which commemorates the manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles, represented by the Magi who traveled to Bethlehem to adore Jesus two years after his birth (Matthew 2:1–12). But what does it mean for us personally?
Epiphany is certainly an opportunity for worship, and to worship in a spectacular way: bonfire and all! It is an opportunity to sing favorite hymns reserved for this season. It is an opportunity for gentle reflection as Christmas decorations are boxed up and Christmas present bills come due. It is a time of recovering back to our routine following Christmas for sure, but there is so much more.
Let’s take the gifts of the Magi: what do they mean and how can they help us find new meaning? The Bible tells us there were three Magi, but, in fact, there were many more. Church tradition has presented us with three as a manageable number. The Bible does tell us, however, that the Magi brought three gifts: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. The meaning of these gifts is fairly self-evident:
The 3 gifts of the Magi also represented three virtues: gold represents charity; frankincense represents prayer; and myrrh represents sacrifice.
Still further, we can reflect on Epiphany as an opportunity to renew our devotion to Jesus by entering into the process of revelation which unfolds in the biblical story. God revealed the Star in the sky, the importance in the heart, the longing in the spirit, the recognition in the mind. Epiphany can mean the unfolding newness of God in Christ radiating through our entire life.
How is the Epiphany of Christ revealing God in your life? A less used but beautiful way to reflect on God is through poetry. I offer you this poem whose images push us to reflect beyond the easily accessible biblical story, for prayer and reflection:
Epiphany And Revelation
Eons of water dripping on a stone
Altered and absorbed into creation--
But I need suddenness of something known
From Epiphany and Revelation.
Realization's not slow and steady,
Rather spontaneous elevation.
My need to learn demands I stay ready
For Epiphany and Revelation.
Show me no small lessons that life presents,
But insight with dramatic sensation!
Life unfolds in a series of events
Of Epiphany and Revelation.
Even silence is thunderous rapture
Triggering profound imagination.
Knowledge springs from the wisdom I capture
With Epiphany and Revelation.
Who I am today is a product of
Awe in my moments of education.
It's these times in life that I've learned to love--
My Epiphany and Revelation.
Written by, notthepoethewantstobe Aug 2018
Epiphany in Christ,
Father Bill Burk†