The Epiphany, also known as the theophany is an ancient celebration of the church. Epiphany means manifestation, and theophany means manifestation of God. As celebrated originally, Epiphany had a four fold theme, the birth of Christ, the visit of the Magi, the Baptism of Christ, and the first miracle of Christ. Epiphany was celebrated before Christmas, but when the church began celebrating Christmas, this theme was removed from Epiphany except in Armenia, which still does not celebrate Christmas..
With the removal of Christmas, the main theme came to be the visit of the Magi, which occurred when Jesus was about two years old. In fact the gold presented by the magi probably financed the trip to Egypt. The theme of the magi is important to us, because it is when the gentiles (goyim) first come to worship Christ. Many people believe that the Magi were from Persia, and recognised the coming presence of the Messiah from the book and other writings of Daniel. We note in passing that the Bible does not state there were three, but this idea probably arose because of the three gifts, gold (kingship), frankincense (priesthood) and myrrh (burial). In Persia (Iran) legends claim that the magi returned and proclaimed the Gospel.
The theme of the Baptism of Christ is kept for the Sunday following Epiphany and is a highly appropriate day for baptisms. In our church, in year D we observe the Wedding of Cana on the following Sunday.
The season of Epiphany concentrates on manifestations of Jesus, particularly in healing. It is also a time in which we emphasise the need and importance of evangelism.
Collect: Lord God almighty, by the light of a star you guided the Magi into the presence of Yeshua to give him gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. So let the light of Yeshua shine out through our hearts, that those around us would be drawn to your presence to render you homage and accept you as Lord and Saviour. This we ask in the blessed name of Yeshua haMoshiach. Amen. (gold)