Anam Cara


Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Having an Epiphany

“Where is the baby born to be the king of the Jews? We saw his star when it came up in the east, and we have come to worship him” ~ Gospel Tradition According to Saint Matthew (2.2) NRSV.

Then a voice said from heaven, “This is my own dear Son, with whom I am pleased” ~Gospel Tradition According to Saint Matthew (3.17) NRSV.


Two verses. Two ways of looking at things. Two stories of Christ at different ages, but both signaling THE BEGINNING of some stage of his life on Earth. The first starts his life; the second initiates his ministry.  The first is how the West sees Epiphany. The second comes from the Eastern tradition of Epiphany. In both instances, there is an experience, which is life changing and transforming. From here on out, nothing will be the same. A new cycle, a new life has begun. For us, both point to the new creation, which is within us.

The Western side does have a baptism scene associated with Epiphany. Usually, this is called “Baptism of the Lord Sunday,” which is the Sunday following Epiphany. Many times, Epiphany observance is not on January 6, the day following the twelfth day of Christmas, which officially ends the Christmas Season; but celebrated on the Sunday closest to that day. This year that Sunday was a couple of days ago.  Therefore, in that reckoning, we look to the Magi (the infancy) in the past and baptism (the ministry) in the future. That would make this whole week like looking into the life of Christ as he was growing up in Galilee. Sort of “Coming of Age,” if you will.

Meanwhile, on the Eastern side of the world, they are baptizing. Even in the traditional spot on the Jordan River where Christ, our King, was by Saint John the Baptist. Today. Freezing cold! Today.

I wonder if this is where our “cold swim” actually comes from. Within the video presentation above you can see a video clip from Bulgaria back three years ago. 

Originally, there was a question over when Christmas was. December 25th was the Western date and January 6 was the Eastern date. Apparently, the Greeks and the Romans used a different method in trying to figure the Feast Day of the Annunciation (the conception of Christ in the Virgin womb—that is 25th of March).  Congratulations. The Western side won over, so the Christmas celebration is in December everywhere around the world. We call the twelve days in between those two dates “Christmastide.” The twelve days of Christmas.

There is also a third tradition to Epiphany. The changing of water into wine at the Marriage Feast in Cana. According to the Gospel Tradition of Saint John, this was the first of seven signs marking the Divinity of Christ.  A wedding. How appropriate! A wedding is the defining moment when two lives come together to form a union, and a third “life” begins. There is you, there is me. Together then, there is us.  A complete organism, all of our own. Ever wonder how the Church is many and yet one, all at the same time?

Then again, that is what it means by “having an epiphany,” is it not? To have a profound understanding or a deep knowledge of something… To see something for the very first time… Do you see something new today? What do you see when you look at the big picture?

I am Amhas Jack+ in Fayetteville, AR—wishing you and all your loved ones a glorious new beginning and a beautiful journey ahead!