The oft-sung Christmas song reminds us that there are twelve days in Christmas. The twelfth and final day of Christmas is January 6.
In the early Christian centuries this day, known as Epiphany, was a grander celebration than Christmas Day. Augustine described Epiphany as “a feast worthy of devout celebration.”
Epiphany means “manifestation” or “showing forth.” At Bethlehem, and in the weeks, months and years following, Jesus was made known to the world. Epiphany recalls three events in which Jesus is revealed—the message of Jesus’ birth to the Magi, the announcement of Jesus’ identity at his baptism, and Jesus’ miracle of turning water into wine at Cana.
In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul claims his calling is to preach the Gospel to the Gentiles. He describes the Gospel as a “mystery” or “secret.”
What is this secret Paul is invited by God to announce? It is that “the Gentiles have become fellow heirs, members of the same body, and sharers in the promise in Christ Jesus through the Gospel” (3:6).
This is an astounding reality. God is not particular. God does not place people in classes or strata and shower a few with favored status. God offers to each of us full access to Divine promises. All of us have privileges to enjoy “the boundless riches of Christ” (3:8).
May this “secret” be unveiled to you more and more in the coming year.
Lord Jesus, may the truth of your love for me, and for everyone else, grow in me day by day, until the boundless riches you have for me no longer seem like a secret. Then may I consider it a gift to share this secret with my friends, as Paul did long ago. Amen.