This coming Sunday we will celebrate Epiphany which is 12 days after Christmas day. Technically, it is Saturday, January 6, but we will use it as our focus on Sunday. Traditionally it is also known as Three Kings Day and is most practiced by Orthodox, Catholic, and Anglican Christians. It is an important day to not ignore because of its focus on the visitation of the Magi to see the infant Christ (Matthew 2:1-12) and Jesus’ baptism by his cousin John the Baptist (Matthew 3:13-17.) Both experiences are important in the life of Jesus.
On Sunday we will consider the baptism of Jesus and why it was necessary. We will also take time to consider our own baptism and how it impacts our lives daily. We will celebrate our baptisms by making the sign of the cross on our foreheads with water to remember that because we are baptized, the Holy Spirit resides within us leading and guiding us and bringing us comfort and peace when we need it most. The Holy Spirit within us also gives us access to Spiritual Gifts that help us bring the presence of Christ into the world through our good works. Our baptism is important, and we will remember this gift on Sunday.
The other focus of Epiphany is the visit of the Three Magi, Wise Men, or Kings depending on your tradition, who seek to find the baby Jesus. God leads them through a star in the sky that guides them to Bethlehem. While it is cool to think about a visit from three foreign kings, it is important to note that these men were Gentiles. Non-Jews that God was speaking to and leading to the baby Jesus. Prior to the birth of Jesus, most Jews saw themselves as God’s people and believed they were the only people God was interested in.
These Magi introduce the concept that God loves both Jews and Gentiles. God even speaks to Jews and Gentiles. In fact, much of Jesus’ ministry was about God’s immense love and mercy towards all people. I love all the different traditions and expressions of the Christian faith. It gives us such a well-rounded experience of a faith journey. I love that we can join our Orthodox, Catholic, and Anglican brothers and sisters this weekend in the celebration of Epiphany. I hope you will join us this Sunday as we collectively celebrate our baptism.
WATCH: In a culture and age where following Jesus is considered foolish by many, this mini movie as a reminder that those who seek, find, and it's always been the wise who seek what matters most.