January 2022 Newsletter (PDF)
A Message from Reverend Greg
Happy New Year and a Blessed Epiphany
Epiphany, also known as the “Theophany,” is generally celebrated on January 6th. At St. Stephen’s, we chose to celebrate it on January 2nd. If you search for the word, Epiphany in the glossary definitions as found in An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User-Friendly Reference for Episcopalians, (Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY, Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors), you will find the following:
“The manifestation of Christ to the peoples of the earth. The winter solstice was kept on Jan. 6 at some places during the first centuries of the Christian Era. In opposition to pagan festivals, Christians chose this day to celebrate the various manifestations, or “epiphanies,” of Jesus’ divinity. These showings of his divinity included his birth, the coming of the Magi, his baptism, and the Wedding at Cana where he miraculously changed water into wine. The day was called “The Feast of Lights.” Celebration of the Son of God replaced celebration of the sun. Baptisms were done, and a season of preparation was instituted. It was later called Advent.
The solstice was kept on Dec. 25 by the fourth century. Jesus’ birth was celebrated on this day in both eastern and western churches. The western church commemorated the coming of the Magi on Jan. 6. The eastern church continued to celebrate the Baptism of our Lord and the Wedding at Cana on Jan. 6. In the east the day was called “Theophany” (manifestation of God).”
So it is that we begin a new year as a season of light – the light of Christ, piercing the hardness of heart and the places in the world where there is no light of hope or joy.
It is this ever-pure and holy light of Christ that pierces through our fatigue, our restlessness, our agitated spirits fighting to make right out of wrong, justice out of injustice and equality out of inequality. The light of Christ leads us in the true direction, the direction that Jesus wants us to go, where there might be the need for change of heart and mind. The way of Jesus might involve small sacrifices to be made along the way, and most definitely, the way of Jesus will always require love of self and others.
Stop and reflect on what we have had to endure. We can only hope for a better year, a year of light and joy. A year where our faith is strengthened to be a witness to that light of the Christ child.
Again, Happy New Year!