Epiphany

6 Jan

Today is Epiphany Day. Many Christians around the world celebrate this Holiday and in many countries it is a public holiday. I’m not sure that many of us in the United States or especially those of us who are not Catholic, Orthodox or Anglican Christians have an understanding of what it is. Many different cultural and denominational customs are practiced; however, in general the feast celebrates the manifestation of God in the form of human flesh through Jesus Christ. The word epiphany means “manifestation” or “revelation” and is commonly linked in Western Christianity to the visit of the Magi to the Christ Child. Through the Magi, Christ revealed himself to the Gentiles. In Eastern Christianity the emphasis is on the baptism of Jesus by John. Epiphany is also called, “Three Kings Day,” or “Twelfth Day.” It’s quite interesting to read how different countries celebrate – Wikipedia gives a great rundown of the countries that celebrate Twelfth Day and how they celebrate.

According to dictionary.com, one can use the word to refer to: 1) a sudden, intuitive perception of or insight into the reality or essential meaning of something, usually initiated by some simple, homely, or commonplace occurrence or experience. 2) a literary work or section of a work presenting, usually symbolically, such a moment of revelation and insight.

Wikipedia gives a definition of Epiphany as it relates to a feeling. The word can be used to describe an experience of sudden and striking realization. “Generally the term is used to describe breakthrough scientific, religious or philosophical discoveries, but it can apply in any situation in which an enlightening realization allows a problem or situation to be understood from a new and deeper perspective…Epiphanies are relatively rare occurrences and generally following a process of significant thought about a problem….”

Now I know that few of us have epiphanies as defined by Wikipedia but I do believe during our lifetime we experience several occasions where we have our own personal epiphanies that change our lives, our thinking, our goals, and our spirituality. In my own personal life, my deeper understanding moments have occurred during or right after a very difficult time and they also did not happen while I was in my teens or twenties – no, most of them have happened in the last two years. I thought I knew what life was about and what I was doing and where I was going and then my world was shaken up. Maybe this happens so we have to stop, refocus, figure out if the path we are on is going in the right direction, figure out what really matters and what does not matter, and check in with ourselves to see if we are being true to our mission/purpose/passion.

As I reflect upon the holiday and feeling of Epiphany today, I hope that this year will be one of enlightening moments, deeper understanding, insight into situations, and more revelation of who God is and His love for us. Blessings!

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