(Is 60.1-6; Eph 3.2-3a,5-6; Mt 2.1-12)
Over many millennia, birth was considered a very private and secluded affair – sometimes only a midwife present. This was partly because this event was recognised as both gift and danger; death was always acknowledged as sitting quietly in the corner of the room. After the child and mother were safely delivered, then entered the father, the family and the village, and celebrations began.
This is some of the background that moved the Eastern Church to celebrate this feast, the Epiphany (the word means ‘revelation’) with great solemnity. The nativity (Christmas day) was for a small intimate circle; epiphany was the proclamation to the whole world. (Is 60.3-5) It brought kings from distant lands (Mt 2.2) and even troubled the courts of tyrants like Herod. (2.3) The good news could no longer be contained but would radiate out to the entire world. (Eph 3.5-6)
The feast of the Epiphany beckons us similarly. Whereas Christmas was for family and close friends, the appearance of God among us demands universal acclamation. We are called to show forth our belief, our trust in Christ’s leadership, and to continue to manifest it in the way we speak, act, and conduct all our relationships.
Source: Epiphany of the Lord year A1This Sunday