Epiphany is the celebration of God’s manifestation or self-revelation to the world in Jesus Christ. The word “epiphany” (from the Greek epiphaneia or theophaneia) means “appearance” or “manifestation” of God, and has roots in the word for sunrise or dawn. In ancient times, an epiphany meant either a visible manifestation of a god or the solemn visit of a ruler venerated as a god.
For Christians, Christmas marks the coming of God to us; Epiphany celebrates the appearance of the Lord in the midst of humanity. The Christmas stories of the birth of Immanuel declare the divine entry; Epiphany extols the revelation of God to the world in the person of Jesus of Nazareth.
In our celebrations of Christmas and Epiphany we rejoice in the dawning and the arising of Light in darkness. … Epiphany not only discloses the Savior to the world but also calls the world to show forth Christ, to be witnesses to God’s true Light. The timeless mystery of the incarnation, God in flesh, leads us forth to show and tell of Christ as God’s gift of grace and salvation for all persons. Some call this ongoing epiphany the work of Christmas.
An excerpt from the Companion to the Book of Common Worship (Geneva Press, 2003, 94-95)
A Prayer for Epiphany
January 6, 2021
God of endless light, you sent a star—
rising from darkness,
guiding seekers and sages,
overwhelming us with joy.
Let the splendor of your dawning light
grow in us and in all the world
until the whole creation shines with your glory;
through Jesus Christ our light.
God of light, shining in darkness,
through a little child, born in Bethlehem,
you open to us the treasure of your grace.
Help us to search diligently for him,
so that we may offer our lives to you
with thanksgiving, joy, and praise;
through Jesus Christ, the rising star.
Shepherd of Israel,
you sent a star to enlighten the wise
and a child to topple the tyrant.
Make us wise enough to seek you
among the least of your children,
wise enough to trade our treasure
for the gift of overwhelming joy. Amen.