An Introduction to Ephiphany Worship

Our final seasonal entry from A.C.T. Intl’s resource site, Worshipedia.org, focuses on Epiphany. I hope you’ve enjoyed this break in our regular blog posts and I pray that this joyous time of year will be a blessing to each of you and to your families.

The commercialization of Christmas has overpowered the church’s 1,500-year-old tradition that Christmas begins, not ends, on December 25. Consequently, Epiphany has been relegated to utter obscurity, an afterthought that appears as a curious inscription on the pastor’s program planning calendar. The word epiphany means “manifestation” and refers to the manifestation of Jesus as Savior not only of the Jews, but of all the peoples of the world.

The elevation Epiphany will be best effected by a recognition of Christmas as a twelve-day celebration from December 25 to January 6. Perseverance here will work slowly to transform the context of Epiphany and thereby its identity and place in the life of the church. For instance . . .

  • Encourage the scheduling of church and family Christmas events during the twelve days of Christmas. Publicize these according to the Day of Christmas, Fourth Night Concert, Twelfth Night Party, and so forth.
  • Schedule an annual Service of Nine Lessons and Carols during the twelve days. For solo pastors without pulpit relief, the First Sunday of Christmas is an opportune time. It changes the pace on what is often a “down” Sunday and is a highly participatory service that is always well-received.
  • Include a Sunday evening potluck supper following a short service that, of course, includes the Epiphany hymn “We Three Kings.” Afterward the Christmas decorations can be taken down.

Attention to the context of Epiphany will go a long way toward giving it the esteem that is properly its due.