In western Christian tradition, Epiphany is the climax of the Advent/Christmas Season and the Twelve Days of Christmas, which are usually counted from the evening of December 25th until the morning of January 6th, which is the Twelfth Day.
Although the word epiphany originally meant "appearance" or "manifestation," we commonly use the word epiphany to describe a revelation or an "aha" moment. The coming of Christ was first revealed to the Jewish world through the shepherds who heard the angel's announcement and ran to the stable to see for themselves.
Through the Magi (wise men), Christ was revealed to the non-Jewish (Gentile) world.
"The Wise Ones came and left together. They endured the darkness and found the Light... not alone but in community. And it is in community that we find the collective wisdom and resources to know the Light of all people that shines in the darkness and has not been overcome by it." - - James Schwarzlose
Light plays a big part in this time called Epiphany. Isaiah 60 describes the effect that light has upon us. In the Gospel of John, John makes statements about Jesus as the light of the world. Light brings people together and attracts people from afar. It takes a great deal of effort to remain in darkness once light has been offered; yet many folks do. Why is that?
"God's light shines upon us individually so that we can live into the beauty and wholeness in which we were created. God wants us to be whole because it makes a difference in creation; as we become more whole, so does our world. Gathered in communities, our unique beauties and talents are shared, magnified and extended beyond our individual reach." - - Susan Baker-Lehne
Epiphany is now observed as a time of focusing on the mission of the church in reaching others. It is also a time of focusing on Christian fellowship, especially in healing the divisions of prejudice and bigotry that we all too often create between God’s children.
Following the light of God is a journey of faith. We often feel that we don't know where our journey will lead us, and we certainly don't know what we'll find along the way. We do, however, know that God goes before us, and with us, and that the journey will be worth our while.
In this season of Epiphany, may we all realize God's love for us, and may God's Word be a lamp to our feet and a light to our path. (Psalm 119:105)