- The religious tongue defines Epiphany as "the manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles."
- The less-specific tongue defines Epiphany as "a moment of sudden revelation or insight."
Let the languages meet!
- As the religious and secular speak in accord, they highlight the joy of fresh discovery. John Henry Hopkins wrote of one such discovery - the Epiphany - when he penned a Christmas carol in 1857.
We three kings of Orient areWhile, most likely, not kings nor three, curious travelers nevertheless brought gifts and followed yonder star while traversing afar. The second chapter of Matthew provides the account of a group of magi (astrologers) who journeyed to Bethlehem to worship the newborn King of Israel. Those travelers were indeed wise.
Bearing gifts we traverse afar.
Field and fountain, moor and mountain,
Following yonder star.
O star of wonder, star of night,
Star with royal beauty bright,
Westward leading, still proceeding,
Guide us to thy perfect Light.
They were wise through contemplative academic study. They were also wise because they allowed the Holy Spirit to guide their hearts. They chose not to reason away the unique, strange even, urging to head east in search of a king, a king of a kingdom not their own for that matter. They trusted and, therefore, traveled. When they arrived in the village of Bethlehem, they walked to the house of Joseph and, upon seeing the Christ, bowed in reverence. While their gifts to Him of gold, frankincense, and myrrh were significant, their best gift was their bowing. It foreshadowed the glorious day to which Paul referred.
9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest placeThe greatest gift we can give Jesus is reverence. He deserves it and any who deny Him that gift will, regardless of what else they give, fail to offer their best. I possess no frankincense or myrrh. My only gold forms a circle around the third (not counting the thumb) finger of my left hand. So what can I give Jesus this year? To name a few:
and gave him the name that is above every name,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.
Philippians 2:9-11 (NIV)
- my marriage
- my parenting
- my finances
- my trust
- my preaching
- my writing
- my health
And, most importantly, my reverence
12 In a loud voice they were saying:
“Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain,
to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength
and honor and glory and praise!”
13 Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, saying:
“To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb
be praise and honor and glory and power,
for ever and ever!”
14 The four living creatures said, “Amen,” and the elders fell down and worshiped.
Revelation 5:12-14 (NIV)