MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — Joining us this morning is Wayne Miller with Grace Lutheran Church in Mobile. This past week many churches observed marked the Epiphany–what is the Epiphany and how does it tie into Christmas?
Guest: The church celebration of Epiphany is not only a day but a season, the season of Epiphany started on Jan. 6, ending the 12 Days of Christmas. (Keeping our Christmas trees up until January 6th follows the proper Christmas calendar.) During this time after Christmas, we Lutherans think about events when Jesus’s identity and mission were made known to all people. The Greek root of the word epiphany means “to appear”, “to show” or “to make known”. God gave glory to his people Israel by fulfilling the prophets of old and now also a light reaching out to the Gentiles (people outside the Jewish faith – folks like us!). In the Epiphany season, we recognize the arrival of the Magi, non-Jews worshipping the King of the Jews fulfilling all nations recognizing him as Lord. Then His Baptism, “You are my Son,” a good hint at Jesus true identity, and then the Transfiguration, before he heads to the cross, that week is Mardi Gras, the end of the epiphany/carnival/celebratory season before Ash Wednesday.
Anchor: What can the Epiphany story teach us today?
Guest: The Lutheran Church follows a Church Calendar and the calendar actually teaches us the story of God. We look to various “faith seasons” like Epiphany now to brighten our pilgrimage here on Earth. Jesus grew from a baby to an adult for us throughout the season of Epiphany. So I would say GROWTH is a major element of Epiphany, growth in the knowledge of His Word, and how it is applied to our lives.
Anchor: How can we experience epiphanies in our own lives?
Guest: Too often we see this season as “down-time” between Christmas and Lent which only parades Mardi Gras as the highlight, but we can use the season of Epiphany and every season for that matter to think about the ways Jesus appears in our lives daily – through daily bread, through a kindness done by us or for us, through the way we attend to another’s needs. His light shining forth in us for others giving glory to God. We have epiphanies or “realizations” in our lives if we are looking for them and not making ourselves the most important person in the world. We can LEARN a lot and BE a lot.
Anchor: What are the gifts God brings us on a regular basis?
Guest: As you know, the Magi brought gold, frankincense and myrrh, but we believe that Jesus was the one who brings us gifts. He brings us his love demonstrated in his servanthood, he brings us his sacrificial death displayed on the cross and gives us life shown by the empty tomb. Overall, as Lutherans, we are given the great gifts of Word and Sacrament, carrying us through life on a yearly basis preparing us for life after this life. This is what we believe and share.