Center Harbor Congregational Church, UCC
center harbor, new hampshire
The Season of Epiphany
For many, the Festival of Epiphany is perhaps the least observed celebration of the church year. Immediately following Advent and Christmas, it is often lost in the post-holiday preoccupation with restoring order, paying bills, and getting back to work.
In the midst of "getting things back to normal," celebrating this festival may enrich the good news of Christ that we anticipated in Advent and celebrated at Christmas. The meaning of "epiphany" is "manifestation"; it may also mean "a new understanding." When the Magi approached the child Jesus, new understandings came to them and to all about who Christ would be - a messiah for the entire world. Epiphany is an excellent opportunity to capture the profound and fresh understandings that follow the spiritual emphases of Advent and Christmas and the beginning of a new calendar year.
The Festival of Epiphany is not only marked by a single historical event but also by a series of events tied together by a theme. The biblical stories associated with Epiphany and the season that follows share a common "aha" quality. The passages include the epiphany of the Magi who come to know the significance of the Messiah’s birth, the epiphany of Jesus who embraces his baptism and his life’s unique identity and mission, the epiphany of John the Baptist who identifies Jesus as the Lamb of God, and the epiphany of the first disciples who leave behind the familiar to explore the radically new. These are all significant personal events of powerful
discovery, self-realization, and transformation.
Epiphany is not the thirteenth day of Christmas but a special time in itself, a festival of light and meaning. During Epiphany we remember the journey of these Wise Ones who followed the Eastern star in search of the Christ child.
(from the UCC “Epiphany -- Festival of Light and Understanding”)