What is Epiphany?

The word epiphany comes from the Greek noun epiphaneia, which means “shining forth,” “manifestation,” or “revelation.”   The Epiphany of our Lord is the Christian festival that celebrates the many ways through signs, miracles, and preaching that Jesus revealed Himself to the world as Christ, God Incarnate, and King of kings.

Epiphany is the liturgical festival observed on January 6. Since January 6 is most often a weekday, many shift the celebration of Epiphany to the Sunday immediately following the 6th. Originally, Epiphany commemorated three incidents that portrayed the mission and divinity of Christ:  the visit of the Magi, the baptism of Jesus, and the miracle at Cana.

In the season of Epiphany, we experience a shift. Epiphany moves us from the family celebrations and demands our inner circle to include “all the ends of the earth.” Just like the wise men, we are reminded to have the courage to follow the light of the star we have seen, however hazardous the journey.  Epiphany reminds us that the light of our faith, like that of the wise men, should be so strong that we are able to see and recognize and our Savior in whatever form God uses to reveal hope, even that of a helpless baby.

This is the season that things move from a self focused expression of faith in God to the recognition that this gift is for the world. This life of saving faith is not just for the parents of this baby or those present that day. It is not just for those that have the correct DNA or born into the religious rules. Epiphany is a deliberate movement to enter into the fullness of salvation and the expectant hope that all of the world can be changed through the gift of Jesus.

In my life, this was when I realized that every step towards adulthood meant one more step closer to being fully devoted to serving Jesus and the Church. It was time to reach the ends of the earth.

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