Have you ever noticed that some people keep their Christmas lights up well past January 6th? That’s because they’re celebrating the season of Epiphany which lasts until the Feast of the Presentation (Candlemas) on February 2nd. This season can be understood as a continuation of the Christmas season, making it last for 40 days. There are three main events in Christ’s life which are focused on during the Epiphany season: the visit of the Magi, the baptism of Jesus Christ, and Jesus’ miracle at the wedding at Cana.
The first of these is very familiar to many as the visit of the three wisemen to Jesus, bringing the gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. We know this one from our childhood Bible stories and from most nativity scenes. We usually celebrate this on or near January 6th; in Newfoundland, this sometimes called “Old Christmas Day.”
The second, the baptism of Jesus Christ, is often considered by scholars of as one of the two events in his life that have a certain degree of historical certainty about them (the other being his crucifixion). He was baptized by his cousin, John, and this began the formal years of Jesus’ ministry which led to his death on the cross. This is typically celebrated on the Sunday after Epiphany Sunday.
Finally we have the miracle at the wedding in Cana. This is the first miracle we read about the Gospel of John, and is of course the one at which Jesus turns water into wine. This is the first sign that we have of Jesus’ divine nature. It was just celebrated last weekend in our Anglican Church of Canada, and the Gospel reading was the telling of this miracle.
But it’s not over yet! In these winter days when the sun is still going down early in the evening, keep your lights on, and continue to celebrate during this season of Epiphany; we still have another week and a half to go!