I’m writing this note to remind and invite you to the Epiphany Divine Service tonight at Our Savior in Hartland at 7:00 pm. Epiphany sees Christmas depart, and a new season begins. In a way, and considering the meaning of the word epiphany, it’s almost paradoxical.
Epiphany comes from the Greek word meaning “to make known.” When someone experiences an epiphany, something is revealed, and the person becomes aware of something previously unknown. In a sense, Christmas is itself a preeminent epiphany event. God gives His son to the world. By His birth, so much is made known. The angels break through fantastically from heaven to declare it. Shepherds so wonderfully announce it to everyone they meet. There’s Jesus, the Son of God, in the flesh. Emmanuel, God with us. But then January 6 arrives, and with it, the season of Epiphany begins. It begins with the account of the Magi being led by a star to the humble residence of the Christ-child. Traditionally, and suddenly, January 6 sees that all of the seasonal pomp of Christmas is put away—hidden out of sight, put back into the boxes under the stairs, in the closet, in the basement. If epiphany means to make known, then this seems counterintuitive to the season’s message.
But it isn’t. Throughout the season of Epiphany, Christ is being revealed in incredible ways that Christmas could not fully deliver. For one, the hiding of Christmas’ divine pomp hints at Christ’s veiled divinity. As the Christmas Gospel declared, He is God in the flesh dwelling among us. And yet, unlike all other human beings walking around, their souls similarly veiled, Jesus is both the creator and deliverer of souls. Epiphany sets the stage in unmistakable terms that Jesus is who He says He is. His identity is revealed throughout as He does things no one else can do. This man is no ordinary man.
I can’t remember who said it, but someone noted that the Lord’s miracles toll an epiphany bell. They point to Calvary. They ring for the human senses a divine awareness of what’s actually occurring when this man suffers and dies on the cross. Human senses cannot fathom such an event as being anything so wonderfully divine, yet it is. The One who accomplishes the work of mankind’s salvation has proven by His miracles the merit of His words and deeds. He can say to a dead girl, “Arise,” and she does (Mark 5:21-43). He can speak to a vicious sky, “Be quiet,” and it submits (Mark 4:35-41). Beholding these things, He can say to you, “I will go to Jerusalem. I will suffer for your sins. I will die in your place. I will rise from death and give to you the merits of my effort” (Matthew 20:18-19). When He says this, you can believe Him. Epiphany is the clarion call of His trustworthiness.
As a side, Epiphany has the potential for tolling other bells.
For one, Epiphany encourages Christians to pay attention to the revelations of faith itself. For example, and perhaps on a personal level, I suppose the strangest epiphany born from faith is the realization (and the otherworldly sensation) of love for a Savior so secure that I’d be willing to die for Him rather than forsake Him. He saved me from eternal Death. The world may do its worst. Like the Magi, I’m willing to risk life and limb to be with Him. What do I have to fear?
When that realization lands on you—when that genuine aspect of faith becomes known—life takes on an altogether different hue.
Consider joining us for worship tonight at 7:00 pm. Be strengthened in this alongside your brothers and sisters in Jesus. I’m preaching tonight, and I hope to look out and discover you in the pews.