The season of Epiphany always begins on the 12th day of Christmas: January 6. It is difficult to capture all the nuance and meaning of the Greek root in Epiphany, but generally it means ‘revelation’ or ‘manifestation of that which has been hidden.’ Our Anglican morning prayer service, (p. 76, BCP) has three verses that capture how the historic church has viewed the days between the celebration of our Lord’s nativity (December 25) and the beginning of Lent (Feb 17 in 2010):
Isaiah 60:3 And nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising.
Isaiah 49.6b I will make you as a light for the nations, that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth.”
Malachi 1:11 For from the rising of the sun to its setting my name will be great among the nations, and in every place incense will be offered to my name, and a pure offering. For my name will be great among the nations, says the LORD of hosts.
During this 5-9 week season (length depends on the date of Easter), the church remembers that ‘the people who have been walking in darkness have seen a great light.’ Through Gospel readings that highlight the visit of the wise men, the baptism of Jesus (this is my beloved Son), and the miracle at Cana where water is turned into wine, we embrace the exhortation to bring this Good News, this revelation of God to all the corners of the earth. We are reminded that God is not a village idol, that Christianity is not a parochial tradition, and that Jesus was not just a good teacher. We have a message to proclaim and the labor of the church until He returns is to make Him known.