Collect for Epiphany
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. Amen.
What is the feast of the Epiphany?
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.
Here are some beautiful hymns to sing for Epiphany:
- We Three Kings;
- Brightest and Best (Hail the Blest Morn)
- Saw You Never in the Twilight
- Watchman, Tell Us of the Night
- What Star is This
- As With Gladness Men of Old
What Can We Do With Our Family?
- 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 free printable)
- 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
Photo by Phil Botha on Unsplash
I know a family that has the 3 wise men figures from their creche appear on Christmas Day some where in their house far from the nativity scene and each day move a little closer until they arrive on Epiphany.
I didn’t know there really were 3 things celebrated on epiphany. I grew up OrthodoxChristian and we bless water & read the bible about Christ’s baptism. In Catholic school, I knew about the 3 kings being “enlightened” on this day. Thanks for sharing more in depth.
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What an old storyteller’s voice T.S. Eliot had! And his descriptions of landscape and people…so visual! Yet he managed to turn the joy of Christ’s birth and what was certainly the great reward and deep fulfillment of the magi into drear and almost regret! “I should be glad of another death” is so drear compared to Paul’s joyful, hopeful, “To live is Christ to die is gain!”
Thank you for the reference to Chaney. I found her work here: https://www.ewtn.com/catholicism/library/twelve-days-of-christmas-10410
I have an image of the Magi to send to you, but I see I cannot post a photo here. I will go to see if I can find an email address for you.
Blessings of the Old Epiphanytide! (And I can hardly wait for beautiful Candlemas…the Candlemas Bells will be up soon….)
Awesome use of that top photo…