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The Epiphany Season
In December at Saint Thomas we immersed ourselves first in the anticipation of Jesus’ birth, and then, during the Christmas Season, the wonder of the incarnation. The services, lessons, carols, hymns, Handel’s Messiah, and other treasures from the Anglican choral tradition contemplated this great mystery from every angle. Beginning January 6, we are in a new season: the Epiphany Season. Epiphany means manifestation or revelation; in this case, the manifestation of Jesus Christ as the Son of God, the promised Messiah.
The Feast of the Epiphany follows upon his Nativity, and in many places (as in Hispanic countries or in Eastern Orthodoxy) is considered equal or even superior to Christmas. This feast commemorates the manifestation of Christ to the gentiles in the persons of the Magi, the three “kings” or “wise men” from the East who followed the star to worship Christ at Bethlehem. It is this event that is specifically celebrated on January 6 each year, the day after the twelfth day of Christmas. In 2017, we not only celebrate with said Masses at 8am, 12:10pm, and 5:30pm in the Chantry Chapel on January 6, but also more gloriously on Sunday, January 8, with a Solemn Eucharist at 11am and a Festal Evensong at 4pm, both sung by the Gentlemen of the Choir.
The Epiphany Season focuses not only on the journey of the Magi but also the other great epiphanies of Christ. Two in particular are celebrated alongside the three Magi at the Epiphany Procession on January 15: Christ’s baptism by John in the River Jordan, and his changing of water into wine at the wedding in Cana of Galilee. These three epiphanies have for many centuries been tied together. You can see how they are connected in the choral tradition by looking at the text of Hymn 135, “Songs of Faithfulness and Praise.”
At Cana, after Jesus changed the water to wine at his mother’s intercession, Saint John says that in this first of his miracles Jesus “manifested his glory, and his disciples believed in him.” If you visit Saint Thomas, you can see a depiction of the wedding at Cana as well as the depiction of the baptism of our Lord, found on the triptych above the Chantry Chapel altar.
All are welcome to worship with us throughout the Epiphany Season, as the church reveals, week after week, that the child born in Bethlehem is the Christ, the promised Messiah, the Savior of the world.welcome@SaintThomasChurch.org