Epiphany Devotional – January 6
Written by: Judy Canon
Scripture: Matthew 2:1-2
Epiphany is one of the three principal and oldest days of the Christian church. I just thought there were two, Christmas and Easter, but I was lacking in the knowledge that there was a third event of significant proportion. In the early Western church, the visit of the Magi to the infant Jesus, is believed to be the proof that Christ, the Jewish Messiah, also came for the salvation of Gentiles.
In researching the meaning of Epiphany in the Christian church, I learned that the first celebration of Christ’s birth came about in Rome in the year 354 on the 25th of December. It was not until the 4th century that Rome celebrated Epiphany. Epiphany is the Twelfth Day of Christmas, thus ending the 12 Days of Christmas beginning on December 25 and ending on January 6. The Epiphany is celebrated for the event of the visitation of the Three Kings, as well as Jesus’ baptism by water and his miracle at the wedding in Cana.
I want to focus on the event of the visitation of the Three Wise Men. The reason I did not know about this Christian festival, and its importance, is that I was raised in the Southern Baptist Church. I knew a lot about the author and finisher of my faith and my relationship to Him and accepted my salvation. I also knew how to use the word epiphany. For instance, when I suddenly realized an issue I had not understood before … I had an epiphany! When I accepted Christ as my Savior… I had an epiphany. I came to realize that having an “epiphany” was usually a good thing.
I have seen at least 50 Christmas pageants over the course of my life. I actually participated in many of them. Usually, the arrival of The Three Kings is produced with much pomp and circumstance. Mary, Joseph, the shepherds… so many moving parts to this tableau. However, of the sermons I have heard over the years about the birth of Christ, I never celebrated this part of Christ’s birth separately.
Those who grew up knowing about this third festival day of the Christian church have accepted it as easily as Christmas and Easter. I must say that there cannot be Christ’s story without the Epiphany. It comes between His birth and His death and resurrection. All because Wise Men from the East who were following a star, these Gentiles, came to King Herod searching for the King of the Jews and found Him in a stable in Bethlehem! This one event, surrounding the birth of Christ, foretold that Jesus would proclaim salvation to the Gentiles, and that event would be celebrated throughout the world. It truly is God’s promise of hope and a future.
Prayer: Christ, remind us that you are not confined to the stable in Bethlehem, that we don’t need a star to guide us, or a government to agree with us, but you came to live where we live. Shine your Light on our path and fill us with your grace and truth as you promised to do. We know you had a plan for our future when you gave us that plan, one starry night, over 2000 years ago., we can know you had the whole world in mind. Thank you, Jesus, and may we daily seek your presence as the Magi did so long ago. Amen.