Happy Epiphany! Well, technically, Friday was Epiphany, but many churches observe the holiday on the Sunday after January 6th. Either way, what is it?
Epiphany is traditionally the end of the Christmas season as well as being associated with the Wise Men visiting baby Jesus. (It’s also a sudden realization.) That’s right, the three kings were 1)probably not kings, 2)not at the stable with the shepherds, and 3) we have no idea if there were three of them. Almost everything we see about them in our traditional Christmas Pageant cannot be found in the Bible.
Now, people like to make a big deal out of things like the fact that December 25th was almost certainly not Jesus’ birthday. It’s really not that major of a point. We needed a day to celebrate God being born as a man, so we picked December 25th. In order to set an end to the Christmas season and to acknowledge the fact that the wise men actually showed up later, we set Epiphany on January 6th. And because the calendar needs to roll over at some point, we celebrate New Year’s on January 1st.
These are all artificial dates. Other people celebrate New Year’s on their own calendar and it is just as meaningful to them. And while there is something magical about the Christmas season, there really isn’t any reason we couldn’t have Christmas in July.
So don’t allow yourself to get hung up on dates. When you feel prompted to make a change in your life, do it. One of the Holy Spirit’s jobs is to convict us of our sin and make us more like Christ. As people, we tend to wait for an occasion to kick a bad habit or start a new one. But if the Holy Spirit tells you it’s time to kick it up a notch, don’t wait for the beginning of the month or the next big holiday. Do it now. Your best chance for success is not to align yourself with some calendar event, but to move on the Spirit’s lead.
It doesn’t matter what season the calendar says it is. You can have your epiphany any day of the year.