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Inhabiting the Christian Year: Epiphany

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This is part 4 of a series looking at the Western Christian year. For other posts in the series, click a number: 12, 3.

So far in this series, we've looked at the meaning of Advent (the season of waiting) and Christmas (the season of wonder). Now we'll look at the meaning of Epiphany---the season of manifestation, which focuses on key events in Jesus' earthly life that manifest (reveal) his identity as the incarnate Son of God, our Savior.

Our word epiphany comes from the Greek word epiphaneia, meaning “to cause to appear” or “to bring to light.” Bobby Gross, in Living the Christian Year: Time to Inhabit the Story of God, notes that the Greek word can refer to the visible manifestation of a deity (also in ancient writings, the arrival of a ruler honored like a god) or to an experience of sudden insight or revelation: those “aha” moments when we “see the light.” (p. 83) The apostle Paul used epiphaneia in referring to the manifestation (appearing) of the Son of God at his f…

Inhabiting the Christian Year: Christmas

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This is part 3 of a series looking at the Western Christian year. For other posts in the series, click a number: 12, 4.
Last time we explored the meaning of Advent---the season of waiting. Now we'll look at Christmas--- the season of wonder. Christmas is a season (12 days), not just one day. As noted by Robert E. Webber in Ancient-Future Time, Christmas "points to the mystery of redemption that took place in the incarnation" (p. 57). Note the two elements: incarnation and redemption. Christmas celebrations within the church should address both for, as noted by Thomas F. Torrance, they are inseparably linked in God's plan of salvation through Christ:
It is in the resurrection that we have the unveiling of the mystery of the incarnation: the birth and resurrection of Jesus belong inseparably together and have to be understood in the light of each other.... We are to think of the line from the birth of Jesus to his crucifixion as the line of the hiddenness of God, the …