Cel­e­brate the sea­son of Epiphany

Jan­uary 6th to Ash Wed­nes­day

The Hamburg Area Item - - Local News - Ca­role Christman Koch Wel­come To My World

Re­print: Daily Med­i­ta­tion , 1st Rights 1992; 2014 Lutheran Digest

From Jan­uary 6th to Ash Wed­nes­day, we cel­e­brate the sea­son of Epiphany. The word it­self comes from the Greek word mean­ing “ap­pear­ing” or “man­i­fes­ta­tion.” Dur­ing Greco- Ro­man times, the term in­di­cated a pub­lic visit of the king to his peo­ple. The Apos­tles re­ferred to Christ, the de­ity; man­i­fested as the Son of God and Saviour of Mankind.

The three- fold man­i­fes­ta­tions of our Lord cel­e­brated by Chris­tians were: ( 1) the mar­riage feast at Cana where Je­sus showed His power by chang­ing water to wine; ( 2) when Je­sus’ divin­ity was shown by his bap­tism in the Jor­dan by John the Bap­tist; ( 3) the pre­dom­i­nant them of our church, is Je­sus’ ap­pear­ance as a God of the Gen­tiles as well as the Jews, when the Three Wise Men vis­ited the in­fant Je­sus.

His­to­ri­ans feel the Magi were not present as the Manger Scene por­trays them to be. They be­lieve the Wise Men vis­ited the in­fant Je­sus at a later date for sev­eral rea­sons. It would have taken the Magi time to study the star of the East’s lo­ca­tion and in­ter­pret its mean­ing. Once the star was stud­ied, pre­par­ing for the trip, and the time in­volved in trav­el­ing from Per­sia to Beth­le­hem, in­clud­ing a stopover with King Herod, the wise men never would have been able to make Christ’s birth date.

And yes, Christ­mas was first cel­e­brated on Jan­uary 6th, not De­cem­ber 25th. No one is sure of the ex­act date Christ­mas and Epiphany were cel­e­brated as sep­a­rate feasts. But, we do know by the fourth cen­tury, most coun­tries cel­e­brated the Na­tiv­ity on De­cem­ber 25th.

Through the cen­turies, Epiphany had many names: Old Christ­mas, Feast of the Three Kings, Be­fana Day, Fes­ti­val of Light.

Also, since the Christ­mas sea­son lasted twelve days, dur­ing the Mid­dle Ages in Eng­land, the last day was called Twelfth Night. On this day there were wild rev­el­ries with bon­fires, was­sail­ing, games, songs, dances, food and drinks. Cus­toms that in­cluded magi- plays, bless­ing of waters and homes, present giv­ing, star and Epiphany car­ols came about.

A Lord of Mis­rule was cho­sen to be king for a day. Most of these cus­toms ceased af­ter the Ref­or­ma­tion, although some were brought to Amer­ica. In some towns, hol­i­day greens were taken down and burned at a large bon­fire.

Aside from the cus­toms of the sea­son, let us re­mem­ber Epiphany, whereby, the only- be­got­ten Son, Je­sus Christ, made an of­fi­cial ap­pear­ance to all His Peo­ple, through the eyes of the Wise Men.


These are not Con­estoga wag­ons but sim­ply ser­vice wag­ons used to haul goods to and from sta­tions in this case. Com­monly, they were also used to make short trips from the lime kiln to the farm field, lo­cally at the dou­ble Limekiln near Hoch’s Cor­ner in Oley Town­ship. Photo taken by H. Winslow Fe­g­ley, cour­tesy the Sch­wenk­felder Li­brary, Penns­burg.

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