Reflection by Rev. Leonard N. Peterson
“Epiphany.” Now there’s a practically fun word to pronounce as well as a spelling bee challenger! It comes to us from ancient Greek through Middle English. Start it off with an upper case letter, and it means today’s feast, commemorating the “manifestation” of Christ to the Gentile world. Its formerly fixed date of January 6 marked the traditional “Twelfth Day of Christmas.” It was moved to a Sunday to give it more prominence. In lower case lettering, the word means “an appearance or manifestation, especially of a deity, or a sudden insight into the essential meaning of something.
The story, as Matthew tells it, is a beautiful one, tailor made for a movie. A group of Gentile travelers, numbering anywhere from three to thirty-three (we don’t know the actual figure), come to the feet of Christ bearing three gifts (hence the fabled number) in tribute to Him. We can presume they brought their version of shock and awe to the inhabitants of backwater Bethlehem.