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What an Epiphany!

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TODAY IS EPIPHANY ON THE CHURCH CALENDAR!

I was saved in a church that was founded during the Jesus Movement in the ‘70s. I went there for 22 years and was a pastor for fifteen. We were a biblically-based, solid, Evangelical church that desired to teach people to live for Christ authentically.

But, I never heard about the liturgical calendar.

The church calendar helps Christian believers to acknowledge Christ throughout the year, marking off specific seasons and days to celebrate. Apart from Good Friday, Easter Sunday and Christmas, I didn’t know any of the other special days until I came to pastor Community Church of the Hills.

Once there, I discovered the rich tradition of the other special “Holy days” of the year.

“Epiphany” is celebrated each January 6, but churches commemorated it yesterday since it was the closest Sunday to the actual date.

Epiphany celebrates the visit of the wise men to Jesus and marks the end of the twelve days of Christmas.

The word “epiphany” simply means a revelation or manifestation. The Epiphany celebrates the revealing of Jesus Christ to Gentiles as represented by the wise men.

Luke 2:32 spoke of this as well, calling the baby Jesus, “A light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel.”

We celebrated by singing the Christmas Carol, “We Three Kings.” (By the way, the biblical record doesn’t tell us the number of the astrologers—not kings—who visited Jesus, and also doesn’t record the actual date of their coming.)

The earliest known reference to Epiphany in church history is found in the writings of Ammianus Marcellinus in 361.

In 385, Egeria (also Silva) wrote of Epiphany as being practiced among churches in Jerusalem and Bethlehem.

Though there are many unbiblical practices associated with this Holy Day, (a day set apart as special), it is always a good thing to remember that momentous day when God became a human in the person of the baby Jesus, because he came to save people from their sins.

Regarding the celebration of Epiphany marking the coming of the wise men to Christ, however, one may choose to celebrate or not to celebrate.

As the Apostle Paul says, “One person considers one day more sacred than another; another considers every day alike. Each of them should be fully convinced in their own mind. (Romans 14:5)

For me, it’s an extra special day:

On this day in 2014, I had my first official church service as a church plant called Hope Chapel Hill Country in Dripping Springs, Texas.

Also on this day in 2016, I began my first (and, hopefully, only) 40 day fast.

And, on this day in 2018, after pastoring 3 years at Community Church of the Hills, I preached “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.”

Lastly, on this day in 1850, my beloved long-dead pastor, Charles Spurgeon, was saved!

So take down your Christmas decorations…tomorrow, because Christmas is now officially over!

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