Collect: O God, who by the leading of a star didst manifest thine only-begotten Son to the Gentiles; Mercifully grant that we, who know thee now by faith, may after this life have the fruition of thy glorious Godhead; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord.
Feasts and Saints
Sunday, January 6: The Epiphany, or the Manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles
The Feast of the Epiphany is the culmination after the Twelve Days of Christmas. On this day, we remember several events that “manifest” the glories of Christ’s divinity through his humanity: (1) the coming of the magi to worship Jesus, (2) Christ’s baptism in the Jordan River, and (3) the first miracle when Jesus turns water to wine at the wedding in Cana. This article, an excerpt from Elsa Chaney’s book The Twelve Days of Christmas (1955), is a beautiful explanation of why Epiphany is so important. She states:
Unless we realize the significance of this great day, we see only one side of the mystery of the Incarnation. Now after contemplating the staggering fact that God has become a human child, we turn to look at this mystery from the opposite angle and realize that this seemingly helpless Child is, in fact, the omnipotent God, the King and Ruler of the universe. The feast of Christ’s divinity completes the feast of His humanity. It fulfills all our Advent longing for the King “who is come with great power and majesty.”
On Epiphany, we rejoice that God’s plan to redeem the world from the curse did not just include the Jewish people, but extends to all people. Christ is King over the whole world; O come, let us adore Him.
Thursday, January 10: William Laud
William Laud was appointed the Archbishop of Canterbury in 1633 and was martyred this day in 1645. Born in Reading, the son of a tailor, Laud completed his education at Saint John’s College, Oxford. When he was ordained priest in 1601, Bishop Young of Rochester said in his ordination sermon that Laud “would be an instrument of restoring the Church from the narrow and private principles of modern times, to the more free, large, and public sentiments of the purest and best ages.” Laud was a friend and ally of King Charles I, which eventually led to his appointment as the Archbishop of Canterbury. He was a high churchman, very much at odds with the Puritans who were gaining power in his day (in fact, Fr. John Julian said “Poor William Laud seemed to have the amazing ability to offend almost everyone he met!”). He insisted that the English church keep faithful to the The Book of Common Prayer, the canon law, and other statutes of the Church of England. William Gladstone said “Laud was the one man who prevented the English Church from being bound in the fetters of an iron system of compulsory and Calvinistic belief.” During his time as Archbishop, discussion was opened with the Pope about reunification and he also corresponded and built relations with the Greek Orthodox Patriarch. In 1640, after the Synod passed the “Etcetera Oath” (inspired by Laud) which demanded that all ordained ministers be faithful to Episcopal church hierarchy, Parliament received the “Root and Branch Petition” signed by 15,000 Londoners which demanded the abolition of Episcopal church hierarchy, since it led to “Romish superstition.” One week later, Laud was impeached and imprisoned. In 1645, he was beheaded.
Hymns for Epiphany
January 6 (Epiphany): We Three Kings;
January 7: Brightest and Best (Hail the Blest Morn)
January 8: Saw You Never in the Twilight
January 9: Watchman, Tell Us of the Night
January 10: What Star is This
January 11: As With Gladness Men of Old
- One traditional way to celebrate Epiphany with your family is through the Chalking of the Doors. As our priest, Fr. Wayne McNamara says,
This short liturgy is a way of yearly marking our homes, usually at the front or main entrance, with sacred signs and symbols to intentionally set our homes apart as places of Christian hospitality, as safe and peaceful outposts of the Kingdom of God in the world, as habitations of healing and rest. We again invite God’s presence into our homes and ask His blessing upon all those who live, work, or visit throughout the coming year.
- Bley also made these Three Kings Crowns.
- A suggestion for celebrating Epiphany from Mary Reed Newland (and a great way to avoid Christmas gift overwhelm):.
…after the Epiphany enactment, all are “welcomed to eat Crown cake and open Epiphany presents (which are merely a few Christmas presents saved for Epiphany). Incidentally, for parents who deplore satiation with gifts on Christmas Day and haven’t yet found a remedy for it, this is most practical. It makes an additional surprise; it is like the children in so many lands who got their presents at Epiphany – “little Christmas” – and it frees the children to enjoy wholly a few toys or gifts at a time.”
- Lastly, don’t forget to read T.S. Eliot’s Journey of the Magi