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Epiphany: Moving from Meaning One to Meaning Three

Main Entry:
epiph·a·ny Listen to the pronunciation of epiphany
Inflected Form(s):
plural epiph·a·nies
Middle English epiphanie, from Anglo-French, from Late Latin epiphania,epiphaneiaepiphainein to manifest, from epi- + phainein to show — more at fancy from Late Greek, plural, probably alteration of Greek appearance, manifestation, from
14th century
1 capitalized : January 6 observed as a church festival in commemoration of the coming of the Magi as the first manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles or in the Eastern Church in commemoration of the baptism of Christ

: an appearance or manifestation especially of a divine being

3 a
(1): a usually sudden manifestation or perception of the essential nature or meaning of something (2): an intuitive grasp of reality through something (as an event) usually simple and striking (3): an illuminating discovery, realization, or disclosure b: a revealing scene or moment 1.

That's the dictionary definition. Last night at Emanuel a small group of us gathered for an amazing Epiphany service. It began outdoors with a fire and three children dressed as the Magi. The paschal candle was lit from the fire and with it other individual candles were lit. The paschal candle with its light led us into the worship space followed by the cross, the Magi, Vicar Todd and the congregation.

The music was wonderful as we sang together, "We Three Kings," "Of the Father's Love Begotten," and other hymns. The sending hymn was a rousing version of "We are Marching in the Light of God."

As we initially gathered outside, it was for meaning one of the definition of Epiphany. Moving through the service and in retrospect thinking about its impact, we slowly moved to the third meaning. Thanks be to God.

1. Merriam Webster Online. Epiphany. Online: [7 January 2008].


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