Pastors Ponderings – January 2018

December 31st, 2017 by re-admin

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ!

My sainted SC Dutch (Deutsch) Fork grandmother used to refer to the 6th of January as Old Christmas. Now that — probably unbeknown to her — goes way, way back in Christian history before 25 December was on the calendar as Christmas Day. The Epiphany of Our Lord comes right at the end of the twelve days of Christmas (25 December-5 January). Originally it celebrated Jesus’ birth, the coming of the Magi, Christ’s baptism by John and our Lord’s first miracle at the Cana wedding.

In Gentile Europe Epiphany (the word means “manifestation, showing forth, revealing ‘What Child Is This?’”) began to be associated with the visit of the Magi alone, since they were seen as representatives of all the nations who come to worship the Christ Child. The other events once celebrated on Old Christmas are now observed on the Sundays after Epiphany, with the Transfiguration of Our Lord (one of the greatest epiphanies of all) coming on the last Sunday of the season in the Lutheran tradition.

Epiphany is the first of the two accordion seasons of the Church Year; the second is the season after Pentecost. The length of each depends the on date of Easter. If Easter is early the time after Epiphany is short, and the time after Pentecost is long — and vice versa. Except for the first and last Sundays of both seasons, the liturgical color is green; the first and last Sundays of both seasons are white (for Sundays and Days of special devotion).

Happy Old Christmas/Epiphany! Pr. Clark+