Today is the 10th Day of the Christmas season.  I mentioned this before, but it is worth saying again; Christmas begins on Christmas Day, not Black Friday.  The true Christmas season lasts for 12 days from December 25 to January 5.[1] This means on January 6 the Church will celebrate the start of a new liturgical season beginning with the Day of Epiphany.

Epiphany, as a word, has a few different meanings.  For the Day of Epiphany, it means “manifestation” or “appearance”.  On this day we celebrate the presence of God manifested in Christ to the gentiles through the visit of the magi or wise men.

The gifts of the magi lead us to the second meaning of the word epiphany. describes epiphany as an “insight into the reality or essential meaning of something.”  An epiphany is a moment of discovery and realization.  They are often “ah ha!” moments.  The gifts the magi gave in Matthew 2 give us insights into who the baby Jesus really is. Their kingly gift of gold, priestly gift of incense, and fragrant gift of myrrh (a balm used in preparing a body for burial) identify the babe in the manger for what he is; king, priest, and suffering servant.

We need their epiphany and we need this season to expound upon it, especially in the Western Church where the season of Christmas grows longer and longer holding onto Jesus the God/baby as though we were afraid to encounter Jesus the God/man.

Epiphany is the season during which we move from the imagery of the swaddled baby Jesus of Christmas, the imagery of the God-child vulnerably trapped in a moment of time, back to the confession of the Church which proclaims Christ crucified, risen, ascended, and returning.  Christmas does a great job at suspending our worries giving us reprieve and hope, Epiphany grounds us back into reality showing us both why we needed the reprieve to begin with and displaying the depth of the one who grants it.

May the Holy Spirit give you realizations and ah ha moments of insight into who Jesus is and what He has done for you and may you, in the coming season of discovery, be encountered by the presence of God as the Holy Spirit brings you to new and wonderful depths in your relationship with Christ.

[1] There is debate on how the days are counted.  In some traditions, the first day of Christmas is the evening of Dec. 25/morning of Dec. 26.  This makes the 12th day of Christmas end on the morning of Jan. 6.

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