We celebrated the feast of the Epiphany–Jesus being made known to all the world–on Tuesday, 6 January, the day of the feast–with a eucharist in the chapel and a coffee hour downstairs. In a real way, our celebrations of the Epiphany continue this coming Sunday!
In the Eastern Church, there are three stories from scripture that swirl together for what they call the “theophany”–God’s showing forth. The first is the story of the arrival of the magi, with their gifts. The second is the one we celebrate this Sunday, the story of the baptism of Jesus by John in the river Jordan: as he comes up from the water, the Spirit descends on him like a dove, and a voice from heaven announces “This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.” The third is the story of Jesus’ first miracle in the gospel of John–the turning of water into wine at the wedding in Cana. Together, these stories make up God revealing God’s self to the world in Jesus Christ!
There are a few special traditions that happen with the Epiphany each year.
One is the blessing of chalk at church, that people can take a piece home and use it to bless their homes. You can read more about that tradition at this site, and if you’re at the Nativity on Sunday, 11 January can take home a piece of blessed chalk to bless your own home!
Another is the tradition of Kings’ Cake–a special cake for the feast, with a hidden treasure inside and special icings to represent the three kings. The recipe we used for our cake made two–and while we ate one on January 6th, there’s one left for coffee hour after the ten o’clock service this Sunday the 11th! If you want to check out the recipe, you can find it here.
Another special tradition at Epiphany is the announcement of the dates of the coming church year, and so on Tuesday, the announcement was sung, reminding us of Ash Wednesday on 18 February, Easter on the 5th of April, and the other major feasts that move from year to year. You can learn more about that tradition here. What’s neat about this one is that it reminds us of how we let the good news of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection shape our own lives–and how we are always part of his risen life.
However you celebrate the good news of God, who comes into our midst, and whose presence and love support us in our lives, may you know God’s blessing this new year!