Church Seasons / Epiphany of the Lord and Season

epiphany

The Epiphany (Manifestation) of the Lord (January 6), an even more ancient celebration among Christians than Christmas, originally focused on the nativity, incarnation, and baptism of Christ. Today we celebrate the coming of the three wise men (magi), who brought gifts to the Christ child. For this reason, in Puerto Rico and in most Latin American countries this day is observed as Three Kings Day or Dia Los Reyes. It marks the end of the Christmas Cycle, which began the First Sunday of Advent.

The Latino culture has preserved and developed this ancient celebration in a way that is a gift to the whole Church. Within the church service, this day is celebrated with plays and special songs emphasizing the coming of the kings and their gifts for the Christ child. In the home the children are told to place boxes filled with hay under their beds so that the camels will eat the hay and the kings will leave presents for the children.

The Epiphany Season includes four to nine Sundays, depending on the date of Easter. The First Sunday focuses on the Baptism of Christ and the Last Sunday on the Transfiguration. The Gospel readings in the lectionary center on stories from the early ministry of Christ.

Use white paraments, stoles and banners on the First Sunday (Baptism of the Lord) and Last Sunday (Transfiguration); add green on the other Sundays. Contrasting colors will accentuate these more neutral colors. Visuals may include a baptismal font, water jars fr the miracle at Cana, and bright candles for the Transfiguration.

(used by permission from The United Methodist Book of Worship, 1992) For more information and resources go to the UM website and search for Epiphany: UMC.org.