Epiphany: An Overlooked Season of the Christian Calendar

Our lives are centered on dates, events and activities. Christians across the globe center and organize our lives around the Christian Calendar. As a pastor our local church is organized around key dates and our local church calendar exist with the calendar for our Presiding Elder District, the Columbia Annual Conference, the 7th Episcopal District and the Connectional/Global AME Church.

Along with those calendars our members organize their lives around the local church calendar and auxiliary’s calendar as well as their personal calendars (family (spouse & children), work, organizations they may be involved in, vacations, etc.). It’s easy to get lost in the busyness of dates and appointments.

The Christian Calendar is a unique way to tell the story of Jesus. That story begins with the anticipation of his birth (Advent) and the outpouring of the spirit of God upon the Church (Pentecost). It is important as Christians that we observe and live out the Christian Calendar annually. When we live and practice the seasons of the Church our lives are enriched because we are reminded daily, monthly, quarterly, and annually about the life of Jesus Christ.

The Christian Calendar is centered around these Season: Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Ash Wednesday (1st Day of Lent), Lent, Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter and Pentecost.

The First African Church in Atlanta has found a way to honor the Christian Calendar and also celebrate the Kwanzaa principles.

First African Church in Lithonia, Georgia celebrates the Kwanzaa Principles Year Round

We just celebrated Advent and advent is the joyful anticipation and preparation for the coming of the Lord. The entire advent season we prepare for the arrival and celebration of the birth of Jesus. Advent begins the four Sundays before Christmas. Advent is not about buying gifts, Advent is about reflecting and celebrating why Jesus was born and what the entrance of Jesus into the world meant.

Christmas is the day we celebrate Jesus’ birth, and we share the thoughtfulness of that day by sharing with family and friends. On Christmas we share by the giving of gifts, but we reflect most importantly on the Ultimate gift, Jesus the Christ.

One of the seasons of the Christian Calendar that is overlooked is Epiphany. Epiphany starts on January 6. When we think about the life of Jesus there are certain events that we never forget:

The visit of the Wise Men who came to worship Jesus: The Baptism of Jesus, the turning of water to wine, Jesus being tempted by the Devil.

These are moments in the life of Jesus that are very important for understanding Jesus’ life and ministry.

Epiphany is about God’s act of revealing God-self to the non-Hebrew World. The Gospel, the good news was given to the Hebrews and then to Gentiles (non-Hebrews).  This good news, the gospel was for all people. The Gospel is the truth. The Gospel is a worldview. The Gospel was also a new paradigm and way of life. The followers of Jesus were first considered a sect of Judaism and then called “People of the Way,” and eventually Christians. The Gospel, which is Good News, is anchored in the belief of the Kingdom of God. We celebrate Epiphany because it’s important that the Gospel was revealed (given) to all of God’s Children.

In In the Western Church Epiphany is called the Twelfth Night. Epiphany comes 12 days after Christmas and is celebrated on January 6. We celebrate Epiphany by commemorating the visit of the Magi (Wise men) to Jesus. They came to worship the Messiah that was promised. Jesus’ entry into the world is sign and symbol of the Gospel that came forth for all nations.

Ritual and Ceremony do several things. But most importantly ritual and ceremony bring meaning to the values we profess and help us grow deeper in our relationship and commitment to those values. We celebrate the Christian Calendar annually and strive to live out the meaning of the seasons of the Christian Calendar.

As a result, each year we should be growing closer to God, more like Christ and led by Holy the Spirit.

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