Thursday, January 20, 2011
Sunday, January 02, 2011
of Jesus Christ to All People!
The Epiphany of Our Lord
(The Festival of the Three Kings)
Thursday, January 6, 7:00 pm
Service of Candlelight
Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church of Peoria
1534 S. Easton Avenue (at Hayes), Peoria
1 block west of Jefferson & Western
An offering will be received for the Prison Mission.
The Epiphany of Our Lord celebrates the manifestation of Christ to the world, recalling the visit of the Magi to the infant Jesus at the Holy Family’s home in Bethlehem. This day begins the concluding season of the Christmass cycle (Advent — Christmass — Epiphany) which focuses on the Incarnation — God becoming human in Jesus.
Next to Easter and Pentecost, Epiphany is the most ancient festival of the Church year, having been observed on January 6 in the Christian East since the third century (or earlier) AD — pre-dating the observance of Christmass by a century. The date was derived from the date of the Resurrection (April 6 according to a calendar used in the eastern Mediterranean), which was also taken to be the date of Jesus’ conception. The theological emphasis of Epiphany was not so much the birth of Christ, but the beginnings of his ministry — that is, his baptism, his first miracle (at Cana), and his revelation as the Savior to all — Jews and Gentiles.
The English word "epiphany" comes from the Greek word epiphaneia, which means "manifestation" or "appearance" — especially that of a sudden force that rescues an army from defeat. It was the word used when a king or emperor would make an official visit to a city of his realm, particularly to show himself publicly to the people. "Epiphany" is also a word used to describe the moment of revelation, insight, or clarification — the "a-ha!" of sudden understanding.
On the Epiphany of Our Lord we see with the Magi that the Infant Jesus, son of the Blessed Virgin Mary, is God the Son come into the world to reveal himself and rescue all humanity (and creation itself) from our Sin. In recognizing the Lord, we humbly offer our gifts to him — and Jesus offers the gift of himself to us.