What is Epiphany

Josh WannerDevotions

Have you ever been working on a really challenging project or problem, and all of a sudden, you came up with the answer, the solution, a different way of doing things that solved the problem almost immediately?  If so, you could say you have had an “Epiphany.”  You have had a revelation.

But did you know that we have a season of the church year called “Epiphany” as well? In fact, we are in the season of Epiphany right now. Beginning January 6, when the visit of the Magi to the Christ child is remembered, all the way until Lent begins in late February, we will be in the church season of Epiphany.

Epiphany is one of the oldest seasons of the Christian church calendar, second only to the season of Easter.  Epiphany is a season of lights which emphasizes that God has revealed himself to us through the God-man Christ Jesus. Like all of our church seasons, Epiphany celebrates Jesus in one more unique way.  We wait for him to come during Advent, we celebrate his birth during Christmas, we anticipate his death during lent, we celebrate his resurrection during Easter, and we learn from his life during the ordinary time (summer and fall).  Epiphany is a time when we commemorate and recognize that Jesus is both true God and true man. During epiphany, we worship Jesus, who has given all mankind access to God through himself.

Several festival Sundays help us to do this during the season of Epiphany.  On the first Sunday of Epiphany (This past Sunday, January 8th), the church celebrates the Baptism of our Lord. The Father sent Jesus to bear the sins of the world. So Jesus steps down into baptismal waters so that He can soak up the sins of the world: He is baptized into our sins so that our Baptism might be into His death and resurrection for the forgiveness of sins.

On the last Sunday of Epiphany, the feast of Transfiguration is celebrated. This day is a significant and uniquely Lutheran contribution to the Christian calendar. This festival commemorates the moment of the Mount of Transfiguration when three of Jesus’ disciples glimpse their Lord in divine splendor, seeing hHim as the center of the Law (Moses) and the Prophets (Elijah). Jesus proclaims to his disciples, then and now, that He is the long-awaited one who has come to die for the sins of the world and be raised again in glory.  This feast is the last Sunday before Lent begins, during which many christians sing many great Alleluias as the prepare to “put them away” during the penitential season of Lent.  With transfiguration Sunday, the Season of Lent is book-ended by Sundays that proclaim the Divine authority and might of Christ Jesus, the transfigured and resurrected one.

May we ponder more fully during this Epiphany season the astounding revelation that solves every problem this world throws at us – that because Jesus Christ was born, lived, died, and rose again – the mysteries of God have been revealed to us, and we will live forever with Him.  

Much of the content of this devotion was taken from the Pastoral Desk Diary, 2023, Page 40-41.  Copyright Concordia Publishing House, 2022.