A Moment before the Epiphany of the Lord

Christmastide is loaded with feasts and special days, and after Christmas, the second most important one is the Epiphany of the Lord (this Sunday).  So what’s an “epiphany?”  A moment or event that reveals something about a divine being. 

The revelation of the Epiphany grows out of Sunday’s Old Testament reading (Isaiah), which at first glance seems like all of the Isaiah readings during Advent.  But there’s something different here.  Foreigners are included in God’s plan, and they’re bringing some very specific gifts. 

Sunday’s Epistle (Ephesians) builds on Isaiah, letting us know the place that foreigners, Gentiles have in God’s plan. 

But the Epiphany really comes together with the Gospel for Sunday (Matthew) and its collision of cultures - God’s people waiting for Christ, suffering under a murderous tyrant kept in power by the armies of Rome, plus foreigners bearing the royal gifts listed in Isaiah.  And it is the foreigners, who are both open to God and so focused that they can see the signs to seek him, that do the revealing of Epiphany.