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Epiphany and Epiphanies

From author Lauren Winner on Epiphany...here is an excerpt but read the whole thing:

"Epiphany — the word comes from the Greek for manifestation, or to appear or to show forth — is the season the church devotes to seeing who Jesus is. Many churches begin their observance of Epiphany with a recitation or even reenactment of the three wise men bringing their gifts to the baby Jesus.

The gifts help us to see who Jesus is: gold is a gift one gives a king; frankincense, a special incense with curative powers that was used by the Israelites in front of the Tent of Meeting, shows us that Jesus is the true tent of meeting, the place we go to meet God; and myrrh, an embalming resin used to prepare bodies for burial, shows us that Jesus was born to die.

The wise men's gifts, in other words, make something about Jesus manifest — and the wise men themselves, as the first people who will take word of Jesus to a larger audience, show forth the infant king to their corner of the world."

During Epiphany, churches also read about Jesus' baptism, a dramatic event at which God "showed forth" something of Jesus' uniqueness. This time of year, I am often reminded of a minor character in the movie Amistad, a slave who becomes a Christian; after coming to faith, he sees crosses everywhere he looks. That is what Epiphany invites us into: a new kind of seeing...

Epiphany is a season of Light. After we have packed away the Christmas lights with which we strung our trees, we find the church calendar giving us still more time and space to consider Jesus, the Light of the World, and to consider the way that we might get our own lights out from under all those bushels, and manifest Jesus to the world..."

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