THE TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS AND EPIPHANY – JANUARY 6

The Feast of Epiphany

The curious uncertainty that surrounds the feast of Epiphany is as old as the feast itself. We know that long before Christmas was celebrated, Epiphany was the highest holiday in the Eastern and Western churches. Its origins are obscure, but it is certain that since ancient times this day has brought to mind four different events: the birth of Christ, the baptism of Christ, the wedding at Cana, and the arrival of the Magi from the East.… Be that as it may, since the fourth century the church has left the birth of Christ out of the feast of Epiphany.… The removal of the birth of Christ from his baptismal day had great significance. In gnostic and heretical circles in the East, the idea arose that the baptismal day was actually the day of Christ’s birth as the Son of God.… But therein lay the possibility of a dangerous error, namely, a misunderstanding of God’s incarnation.… If God had not accepted Jesus as his Son until Jesus’ baptism, we would remain unredeemed. But if Jesus is the Son of God who from his conception and birth assumed our own flesh and blood, then and then alone is he true man and true God; only then can he help us; for then the “hour of salvation” for us has really come in his birth; then the birth of Christ is the salvation of all people.

Today you will be baptized a Christian. All those great ancient words of the Christian proclamation will be spoken over you, and the command of Jesus Christ to baptize will be carried out on you, without your knowing anything about it. But we are once again being driven right back to the beginnings of our understanding. Reconciliation and redemption, regeneration and the Holy Spirit, love of our enemies, cross and resurrection, life in Christ and Christian discipleship.

“Thoughts on the Baptism of Dietrich Wilhelm Rüdiger Bethge,”

May 1944

When they had heard the king, they set out; and there, ahead of them, went the star that they had seen at its rising, until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy. On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage. Then, opening their treasure chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they left for their own country by another road.

Matthew 2:9–12[1]

 

[1] Bonhoeffer, D. (2010). God is in the Manger: Reflections on Advent and Christmas. (J. Riess, Ed., O. C. Dean Jr., Trans.) (First edition, pp. 90–91). Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press.

1 thought on “THE TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS AND EPIPHANY – JANUARY 6

  1. Pingback: Snippets of History: THE TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS AND EPIPHANY – JANUARY 6 — Truth2Freedom’s Blog | ' Ace Worldwide History '

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