Well today is the real Epiphany, January 6, the day that the Orthodox Church traditionally gives gifts to each other like we do on Christmas Day. Of course, it is the day of the magi, when the wise men come bearing expensive gifts for the Christ Child. I don’t want to repeat what I wrote two days ago but focus on another aspect of the Epiphany. When the wise men came from a great distance, following a star, they represented the fact that:
The Lord has made his salvation known to the whole world
Shine out, Jerusalem, shine out, for your light has come: the glory of the Lord is rising on you.
Your rays shall light the Gentiles on their path; kings shall walk in the splendour of your sunrise. The glory of the Lord is rising on you.
The prophets foretold the coming of the Saviour, the angels adored him when he came; today is the great day on which he was made visible. The Magi rejoiced when they saw his star, and brought him gifts.
A holy day has shone upon us: come, you peoples, and worship the Lord. The Magi rejoiced when they saw his star, and brought him gifts.
Bethlehem, of noblest cities
none can once with thee compare:
thou alone the Lord from heaven
didst for us Incarnate bear.
Fairer than the sun at morning
was the star that told his birth;
to the lands their God announcing,
hid beneath a form of earth.
By its lambent beauty guided,
see, the eastern kings appear;
see them bend, their gifts to offer,
gifts of incense, gold and myrrh.
Solemn things of mystic meaning:
incense doth the God disclose;
gold a royal Child proclaimeth;
myrrh a future tomb foreshows.
Holy Jesu, in thy brightness
to the Gentile world displayed,
with the Father and the Spirit
endless praise to thee be paid.