Epiphany is what?
Epiphany is the day Christians celebrate the 12th day of Christmas, the 6th of January, the end of Christmastide. It is traditionally the day of the visit of the magi. The shepherds seem to have been the only visitors to Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus on Christmas day. There was a time when people said Christmas began on Christmas Day, whereas today we tend to think it’s the end. After all, the January Sales have started by Boxing Day. It’s strange when you think a birth is hardly the symbol of the end of something. OK it is in one sense, but it’s the beginning of the child’s life.
What does ‘Epiphany’ mean?
It’s a Greek word which has two meanings in English, although they are connected. The first meaning is a manifestation or a showing forth. It refers to the showing forth of Jesus to the Magi. It also relates to other incidents such as his appearance at the Jordan when John baptised him. For Christians, it is a good time to think about how we might show Jesus to people in the coming year.
What’s the second meaning?
An epiphany is a sudden revelation: a lightbulb moment. That is probably what the Magi experienced and the crowd at the Jordan, when they realised that Jesus was no ordinary man but (probably) the Messiah. For a Christian, this is a good time to ask if God has a special revelation now. Perhaps there’s a part of the Bible you never understood before or some commandment you’ve been ignoring. In my novel The Key to a Murder, the hero begins with certainty and soon finds his world view challenged. When he comes through to a new understanding, you could say that he has an epiphany.
What if you’re not a Christian?
‘This could be a good time to ask what you really believe or don’t believe and think if it’s time to review that opinion. Even if you are sure of your atheism, it could be a good time to open yourself to new ideas, new challenges. I hope you do that all the time, but it’s not bad to have a particular day to review things. I have written about reviewing plans in a recent post.