The Feast of the Epiphany , January 6, the last day of Christmas, has always been my favorite holiday.
As a young child, I somehow associated it with lights and delights. We would camp out in our living room on that night, wrapped up in warm sleeping bags, hot chocolate garnished with marshmallow cream, and the Christmas lights burning bright and joyfully for one more night.
Then later, as an adolescent living in French Breton, I was reminded of the connection to the Magi, foreign kings come to honor the baby Jesus. Baking and eating gallete des rois (king’s cake), first hiding the Christ figure in the soft braided dough, and then hoping and searching for it on my own plate.
As an adult, the day continued to excite and inspire as I learned to understand the deep significance of epiphanies** and other wondrous revelations of self and life and spirit.
It could seem confusing and that transformation of this feast into so many different significances was but the folly of my own youth and ignorance. However, my view of the Epiphany as a gem with many facets is, in fact, reflective of the history of the celebration itself.
Originating in the Eastern Church, and not celebrated by the Roman Church until the latter sixth century, Epiphany was initially the celebration of Christ’s Baptism by the Holy Spirit as an adult, and then of the Nativity (the birth of Christ), and variably the Wedding of Cana (occasion of the first miracle performed by Christ). The current importance of the Magi to the event was a much more gradual attachment (a wonderful reflection of the greater meaning of the Magi to the Church is given by NateAddington).
What was never in dispute, however, was that this blessed day was intended to commemorate the glorious manifestation of the Divine in the world, in the many ways in which Grandeur was revealed.
The extraordinary nature of this celebration was one that could neither escape my child’s eye nor that of the young Church. And its greatness has warranted continued reflection and evolution throughout both of our maturing.
So, as always, I welcome this day with wide eyes and open heart,
Feast of the Epiphany
Celebration of Light and Wonder and Understanding and Illumination
reminder to continued growth and reflection and grace. And I start with a meditation on Radiance, on how good is the light…
**epiphany—(1) : a usually sudden manifestation or perception of the essential nature or meaning of something (2) : an intuitive grasp of reality through something (as an event) usually simple and striking (3) : an illuminating discovery, realization, or disclosure