Epiphany is often, at best, an afterthought among U.S. Protestant Christians. If you asked most people about the Twelve Days of Christmas, almost all of them would say something about the song that immortalizes perhaps the most notoriously over-the-top series of grand romantic gestures in popular culture.

Did you know the song ends up naming 364 gifts that would cost well over $100,000 in today’s economy? And 184 of those gifts are birds?!? I hope the recipient has a big backyard…

Well, suffice it to say, the point of the Twelve Days of Christmas is not for toxic potential lovers to fill your house with enough birds to make a Hitchcock movie. The point of the Christmas season was to ensure that there was an extended time of sacred festivities to commemorate the Incarnation of God in the birth of Jesus Christ, and that season then came to an end with the celebration of Epiphany on January 6.

Both the Twelve Days of Christmas and Epiphany have all but disappeared as sacred celebrations in the United States, but Epiphany is still a major Christian holiday in many other cultures, and historically, it was behind only Easter and Christmas in terms of religious significance for Christians.

The reason for this is not simply because it commemorates the visit of the Magi to pay homage to the Christ child, though that is the main narrative of the story. But the real point is celebrating the manifestation of God in Jesus; the word “epiphany” literally means “manifestation” or “appearance.” In common usage, it has been adopted to refer to a sudden insight or realization, and there are some good reasons for that, too.

So we will be exploring that and what it means for us as a congregation for the next few Sundays in a sermon series that I am simply entitling, “Eureka!” As I will explain on Sunday, that expression comes from a famous non-religious epiphany, and it means, “I found it!”

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be looking at different epiphanies, or manifestations of God’s will and character, in Scripture and considering what they mean for us in terms of discerning our mission as a congregation in 2023 and beyond.

I look forward to being with you in this season of exploration, inspiration, consideration, and celebration!           

Grace and Peace,