Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Epiphany in Christiandom

Yesterday was the feast of Epiphany, January 6th. It seems to me that there has been a lot of discussion of Epiphany in the world of blog, so for the benefit of those who don't have an understanding of this Christian date, I thought I'd do a bit of research.  My first definition from Google is:


e·piph·a·ny
əˈpifənē/
noun
  1. the manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles as represented by the Magi (Matthew 2:1–12).
    • the festival commemorating the Epiphany on January 6.
    • a manifestation of a divine or supernatural being.

So with this definition, we now have a question about the Magi, which was addressed in a sermon at my church on Sunday. This date, January 6th, is sometimes celebrated with a feast.  The revelation in Christianity is that the Son of God was born as a human in Jesus Christ.  So the story is that these "wise men" or "three kings" traveled some 1000 miles from Persia to Bethlehem following a star. The three men were supposedly named Balthazar, Casper, and Melchior. They asked at the palace of King Herod if anyone knew of a new king born in Bethlehem. It was a big surprise to King Herod, as he of course didn't want some new king coming along, so he told them to find the child and let him know where the child was. They continued on following a star to where Jesus was born, and brought gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. According to the story, they returned to their home by a different route rather than to tell the king where the child could be found.

There are a number of other interpretations of the word Magi, if you want to look them up, some relating to magic. And of course there are movies and tv shows, etc. from a totally different perspective.  I found this video on YouTube which describes Epiphany and the wise men, but you are welcome to ignore the ad at the end. It's pretty short.


Linda Kay

18 comments:

eViL pOp TaRt said...

A nice video! The Feast of Epiphany is celebrated in New Orleans. It's also the traditional date for taking down Christmas decorations.

whiteangel said...

I know of this :)

Lin Floyd said...

I was thinking about this event yesterday as I put away my Christmas decorations...

Cherdo said...

I've always found the story of the Magi to be so interesting. I'd love to know more and I wish they'd find more historical references, too.

Duckbutt said...

I remember that there was a dreary TV opera about them in the 1950's. We didn't get much understanding of them in a way.

DeniseinVA said...

Very interesting post Linda Kay.

Cranberry Morning said...

We hardly notice Epiphany this year, but some years we've had a Twelfth Night party with friends. When our kids were little, they got to open their Christmas stockings on January 6 - and not until.

Mike said...

Balthazar, Casper, and Melchior did a nice 'bob and weave' on the way back.

Gosia k said...

Linda it is very interesting, too. It is great tio compare this celebration in US and at my place in Europe

Anvilcloud said...

One gospel account has shepherds; another has wise men. We tend to conflate them into one story, but there are two separate ones.

William Kendall said...

It's something that is marked as well in the Reformed and Presbyterian denominations, though with perhaps less ceremony than other denominations.

Come to think of it, less ceremony is pretty much the standard for both denominations.

Lady Lilith said...

I never knew. Looks like you do learn something new every day :)

The Yum List said...

Very informative piece today. I learned some new things. :-)

Linda said...

Great post, Linda, and I really like the video you are sharing.

Far Side of Fifty said...

Yes I know and my decoration are still up! Oh well:)

Michelle F said...

Well, looks like I'm the only one that didn't know this.
Thank you for posting this bit of enlightenment.

Have a blessed day!

Jim said...

Twelfth night and time to take the Chrissie decorations down. :)

Rory Bore said...

Being raised in the church, I of course knew of this too. But it still surprises me sometimes to be reminded that they were not actually present at the birth of Christ -- or necessarily there at the same time as shepherds. Because every Nativity scene shows the whole gang - ha! But it is the day I typically take my decorations down to remind myself. thanks for sharing!

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