Epiphany of the Lord

The word epiphany comes from the Greek word epiphaneia, which means appearance or manifestation. It is an important word for liturgical churches. Epiphany is observed annually on January 6. It refers to the wise men, who were the first Gentiles to see the manifestation of God’s appearance in the baby Jesus.

In the early church, January 6 was a day for baptism. The central significance of Epiphany is that Christ came as the Light of the World, not just for the Jews but for Gentiles as well. Christ’s light is for all.

In France, to celebrate Epiphany, children from Christian homes often put oats in their shoes on the evening before January 6. The oats are for the camels of the “Wise Men.” When they awake the next morning, the children hope to find the oats gone and gifts left in their shoes.

In 1875, Philip Bliss wrote the hymn “The Light of the World Is Jesus.” The first stanza captures the meaning of Epiphany, a season of light:

The whole world was lost
In the darkness of sin,
The Light of the world is Jesus!
Like sunshine at noonday,
His glory shone in.
The Light of the world is Jesus!

Common Lutheran Ideas

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