The 12 Days of Christmas end on the eve of Epiphany when the church calendar changes to the season called Epiphany. In the Orthodox Church, Epiphany is the celebration of the baptism of Christ. The epiphany was the revelation of Jesus Christ as the Son of God when God’s voice was heard from heaven the day He was baptized. Other churches celebrate Christ’s baptism later in January and consider the epiphany to be the celebration of the journey the Wise Men (Gentiles) took to worship the newborn King of Israel. Their epiphany was that He was not the king they would have expected to be born under that star. Rather, He was the Son of God born to a poor couple while residing in Bethlehem and that He longs to be worshiped by Gentiles.
Whichever focus you have for this season, Epiphany is celebrated on January 6. It is an immovable Feast Day, as is Christmas—the Feast of the Nativity. The short season of epiphany can be longer or shorter based on the Sunday of Easter each year. The season ends on Ash Wednesdays, which ushers us into Lent to prepare for Easter.
I enjoy celebrating epiphany by choosing that to be the day that I put up my Christmas decorations. More importantly, I celebrate the privilege of understanding that God did send His Son in human flesh to be born, live and reveal God’s will to us, and then die and rise again so that I can be reconciled to God. It is an amazing revelation that is worthy of my worship.
I want to be wise like the Magi who invested their efforts into pursuing the one true King. I want to journey into this new year with the same focus and determination.
Matthew 2:9-12: After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went "After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route."urned to their country by another route.
Like the Magi, I will probably get confused along the way and need a little help from spiritual leaders. I will need to access the gifts I have received from God and look for people with whom I can share them in ways that honor Him rather than claim all my gifts as my own. The Magi gave gifts of value to Jesus, not just leftovers. I want to be sensitive to the ways God communicates with me so that I keep out of danger. The Magi recognized the dream was real and headed the direction given. How will I do this? I need to start with a heart set on worship. This is where they began their journey. Their worship climaxed when they came to the house where Jesus’ mother Mary protected Him.
Worship the Son of God. See that our lives are about the Son of God. Pray and think about the Son of God. Walk and think about the Son of God. Consult books written about how to cultivate relationship with the Son of God. Read the Word of God. Pray to God. Sing to God. Worship with others who have the Holy Spirit in them too. The true epiphany is that the worship of the Son of God is where life is found.
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