Today, January 6, is Epiphany. When I led worship this was, in many ways, the highlight of the celebrations that close out the calendar year. The word is Greek and means “appear, become visible”. Originally it was a day to celebrate the baptism of Jesus because on that day God spoke from heaven and declared Jesus to be a special Son like no other. That has its own day still, but I liked to celebrate the visit of the Magi as is now common in liturgical circles.


The liturgical year tells the story of Jesus in ceremonial form, and has a power that goes beyond words.

Four weeks before Christmas Advent is observed. This time of waiting and preparation can help us take the time to peal off layers of rubbish that stick to us. We work to become like little children (Matthew 18:3)  waiting for the Little Child.

The we remember the birth in the home town of the King David clan and the visit of the social outcasts, the shepherds.

The 12 Days of Christmas follow.

Then comes Epiphany. It helps to teach that the Magi came about two years later after Jesus was born. These were the scholars of the day, astronomers and advisers. (Nowadays their use of astrology and other rituals strikes us as offensive, but please remember the gap of 2,000 years between us and them!)

That leads into the horror of Herod’s murder. Some historians deny this happened since no other evidence exists. But remember, Bethlehem was a tiny village and there would have been a handful of boys that age, and history rarely has interest in small events affecting unimportant people. Also, read about Herod and his pattern of murders, including relatives!

So I still reject religion’s control over people by doctrine, but the wonderful story-telling of the liturgical year has value that is rooted in our faith story.  It helps us teach and tell the story of Jesus. (See Deuteronomy 6:1, 7 and Matthew 28:20).

May our lives reveal Jesus in a positive, loving and faithful way. May our habits and lifestyle appear as light to the world. And may we teach, reveal and model everything Jesus taught, and nothing else.