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Confessional Lutheran theology, hagiography, philosophy, music, culture, sports, education, and whatever else is on the fevered mind of Orycteropus Afer

06 January 2012
  The Epiphany of Our Lord
6 January, New Testament

Visit of the MagiThe Epiphany season begins today, with the Feast of the Epiphany. This day celebrates the the Wise Men bringing their gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh to the Christ Child.

The word Epiphany means "showing" or "manifestation" and the entire season from today until the beginning of Lent deals in one way with the ways in which Jesus was shown to be the Christ, either by His own words and deeds or by the actions of the Father and the Holy Spirit (as in His baptism). The hymn Songs of Thankfulness and Praise (printed below) praises many of these manifestations and anticipates that last, great Epiphany, when Jesus manifests Himself visibly before all mankind and brings His Church home to eternal glory.

In much of the world, Epiphany, not Christmas, is a day for giving gifts to family and friends. Rather than using the day in which the Father gave His Son to a sin-darkened and unexpecting world, many nations choose the day celebrating the gifts the Wise Men brought the Christ Child as a day of giving gifts to their own children (and to others). This Wikipedia article details some of the religious and cultural practices of the day. Of course, some countries are done with the presents before Christmas; they choose Saint Nicholas Day on 6 December as the time of giving gifts.

The Wise Men Traveled from Afar, another Epiphany hymn, is posted at the Happenings and Ask the Pastor blogs. Ask the Pastor also has several archived posts pertaining to the Epiphany: Unbiblical Christmas Carols, Jesus and the Wise Men, and Names of the Magi.

Lection

Psalm 72
Isaiah 60:1-6
Ephesians 3:1-12
Matthew 2:1-12

Collect

Epiphany StarO God, by the leading of a star You made known Your only-begotten Son to the Gentiles. Lead us, who know You by faith, to enjoy in heaven the fullness of Your divine presence; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Hymn

Songs of Thankfulness and Praise
  1. Songs of thankfulness and praise,
    Jesus, Lord, to Thee we raise,
    Manifested by the star
    To the sages from afar,
    Branch of royal David's stem,
    In Thy birth at Bethlehem.
    Anthems be to Thee addressed
    God in man made manifest.

  2. Manifest at Jordan's stream,
    Prophet, Priest, and King supreme,
    And at Cana, Wedding-guest,
    In Thy Godhead manifest;
    Manifest in power divine,
    Changing water into wine.
    Anthems be to Thee addressed
    God in man made manifest.

  3. Manifest in making whole
    Palsied limbs and fainting soul;
    Manifest in valiant fight,
    Quelling all the devil's might;
    Manifest in gracious will,
    Ever bringing good from ill.
    Anthems be to Thee addressed,
    God in man made manifest.

  4. Sun and moon shall darkened be,
    Stars shall fall, the heavens shall flee;
    Christ will then like lightning shine,
    All will see His glorious sign;
    All will then the trumpet hear,
    All will see the Judge appear;
    Thou by all wilt be confessed,
    God in man made manifest.

  5. Grant us grace to see Thee, Lord,
    Mirrored in Thy holy Word;
    May we imitate Thee now
    And be pure as pure art Thou
    That we like to Thee may be
    At Thy great Epiphany
    And may praise Thee, ever blest,
    God in man made manifest.

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