Epiphany & After

In the Episcopal Church, the Feast of the Epiphany on Jan. 6 celebrates the arrival of the Wise Men from the East to the Christ child in Bethlehem. Epiphany comes from a Greek word meaning "showing forth"—"manifestation (Jesus revealing God to all people)" or "revelation" or "appearing". Epiphany is the climax of the Christmas Season and the Twelve Days of Christmas, which are counted from Dec. 25 until Jan. 5. The day before Epiphany is the 12th day of Christmas, and is sometimes called Twelfth Night, an occasion for feasting in some cultures.

White the festival color of the Church is the color for the Feast of the Epiphany, the days leading up to it, and the following Sunday, which is the Baptism of our Lord.

The Feast of the Epiphany is followed by the “Sundays after the Epiphany”. The length of this season after the Epiphany varies from four to nine Sundays, depending on the date of Easter. The color is green representing the ongoing life of the church.

The best-known symbols of Epiphany are the three wise men and the star. The story of the magi is found only in Matthew (2:1-12). Magi were people who studied the movement of the stars to interpret their meaning. They were Gentiles. The single star that the magi followed recalls the manifestation of Christ to the world. Themes of Epiphany are: Baptism; Jesus is the light of the world who helps us to see better; Jesus came into the world for all people; and discipleship.

Resource: Understanding the Church Seasons, Carolyn Chilton