Friday, January 6, 2012
The Epiphany of Our Lord Jesus Christ
Readings: Isaiah 60:1-6, 9; Psalm 72; Ephesians 3:1-12; and Matthew 2:1-12
Yesterday was the last day of Christmas. Today is Epiphany, which is the celebration of the wise men coming to Jesus. An epiphany is the manifestation of a deity to humans, and here it refers to God showing himself to everyone, gentiles included. It was the beginning of the fulfillment of God’s promise to Abraham that many nations would call him blessed.
There are many traditions surrounding the celebration of Epiphany. In some places, the priest (and often a group of laity, as well) will go around to all the homes of the parish and bless each one. The priest will take some chalk and write above the doorpost “20 + C + M + B + 11” – 2011 being the year, and C, M, and B being the initials of the names that tradition has given to the magi (Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar). Another is baking a king cake, which is iced with purple, gold, and green icing, and which contains some trinket (often a baby, said to represent the baby Jesus). The person who receives the slice with the trinket must buy the cake the next year. In many places the king cake is associated with Mardi Gras, the festival season leading up to Lent.
Take a few minutes to pray about the Epiphany and God revealing himself to us. Ask God to manifest himself to you in a whole new way. You may find the following prayer helpful:
O God, by the leading of a star you manifested your only Son to the Peoples of the earth: Lead us, who know you now by faith, to your presence, where we may see your glory face to face; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.