Saturday, January 6, 2018

Epiphany

Today is the Epiphany, or Day of the Three Kings (Three Wise Men or Three Magi), which marks the end of the 12-days of Christmas and commemorates a number of different events in the life of Jesus:  the revelation to and adoration of the Three Magi, the baptism of Christ, and the miracles at Cana; it is also sometimes known as Theophany meaning "manifestation of God."

The word "Epiphany" comes from the late Greek word "epiphaneia" meaning "manifestation or to show onto (revelation)." For Christians, it is meant to represent the revelations of Christ's birth to the magi, the baptism of Jesus Christ in the River Jordan by St. John the Baptist, and the miracles at the wedding in Cana when Christ turned water to wine. Epiphanytide concludes on February 2nd on a day known as Candlemas for some churches while for others it ends on Ash Wednesday. The last Sunday of the Epiphany is celebrated as Transfiguration Sunday. Depending on the church, the Epiphany is not always celebrated on January 6th. Some celebrate it the Sunday after the 6th while many Orthodox churches celebrate the Epiphany on January 19th. The liturgical color for the Epiphany season is white.

According to the Gospels of Luke and Matthew, three wise men, or magi, named Melchior, Caspar and Balthazar, were visited by an angel who declared the Messiah had been born and these three traveled to Bethlehem, following a star in the sky said to rest over where Jesus was born. When they found the baby Jesus they praised his glory and bestowed the gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh which were respectively symbolic of His royal standing, His divine birth, and His mortality.



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