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The Lord God Is Manifested in the Incarnate Son
The Feast of the Epiphany centers in the visit of the Magi from the East. In that respect, it is a “Thirteenth Day” of Christmas; and yet, it also marks the beginning of a new liturgical season. While Christmas has focused on the Incarnation of our Lord—that is, on God becoming flesh—the season of Epiphany emphasizes the manifestation or self-revelation of God in that same flesh of Christ. For the Lord Himself has entered our darkness and rises upon us with the brightness of His true light (Is. 60:1–2). He does so chiefly by His Word of the Gospel, which He causes to be preached within His Church on earth—not only to the Jews but also to Gentiles (Eph. 3:8–10). As the Magi were guided by the promises of Holy Scripture to find and worship the Christ Child with His mother in the house (Matt. 2:5–11), so does He call disciples from all nations by the preaching of His Word, to find and worship Him within His Church (Is. 60:3–6). With gold they confess His royalty; with incense, His deity; and with myrrh, His priestly sacrifice (Matt. 2:11).lcms.org
Some Historical Info and Practices Associated with Epiphany
(The below info was written by Rev. David Hakes and used by permission)
The Epiphany of our Lord
Seasonal Emphasis: The glory of God is revealed in the human Jesus
Today’s General Theme: God’s love in Christ embraces all mankind
Mood of Service: Joyful/majestic
SERVICE NOTES: Epiphany is the second oldest festival of the Church Year. The word means “manifestation” or “revelation”, referring to Jesus as the revelation of God’s love for fallen mankind. Epiphany is sometimes also called the Feast of Lights, or the Theophany. Over the years, the visit of the wise men became associated with this feast, possibly due to a fourth century transfer of alleged relics of the Magi from Constantinople to Milan. However it occurred, it is appropriate. We know that the visit of the Magi took place some time after the birth of Jesus. The holy family was in a house. King Herod, in an attempt to eliminate Jesus, ordered the slaughter of baby boys up to two years old. It is probably that the visit of the Magi therefore took place sometime after Jesus was a year old. In Medieval Germany, this feast was widely celebrated and all Lutheran orders regard it as a major festival. The Introit from Psalm 45 proclaims the eternal nature of the throne of God, just as God’s name is also thus remembered.. In The Collect we ask that as God once led the wise men to Jesus through a star, so He would lead us through life to His eternal kingdom. The Gradual calls on all nations to praise God in response to His love. TheVerse repeats the statement of the Magi that they came to worship Him Who was born Savior of mankind. TheProper Preface for Epiphany praises God for sending Jesus and revealing His glory through Him.
The Psalm, Messianic in nature describes the Righteous King, with verse 10 being an obvious allusion to the visit of the wise men far in the future. Thus the outreach of the Savior to all mankind is described long before His advent. The Old Testament Lesson calls on the Church to rise in glory, for God will keep His promises to send the Savior Who shall gather believers and tribute from all the earth. The Old Testament Church was hardly glorious most of the time, but it had a bright future because of God’s promises such as this. It seems wisest to include all the verses from 1 to 6 in the reading rather than restrict it to the last two. In The Epistle, St. Paul describes how God in mercy has now reached out to the Gentiles to bring them into His covenant of mercy. In The Gospel, we have the account of the visit of the wise men from the East. The theme of this pericopal series seems to focus on God’s opening the doors of salvation in the New Testament to all peoples in a much more obvious way than was the case in the Old Testament.
White is the color of the day, symbolizing for us the glory of God revealed in the humanity of Jesus. The strong missionary flavor of the propers can well be utilized in the worship. All Christmas decorations are removed from the church following the services. Some congregations follow the custom of burning the tree and other greens while singing Epiphany hymns in the light and warmth. since this is an important festival and since it will not often fall on Sunday, provisions should be made to observe it with special mid-week services where at all possible. Otherwise people will know it only as a day there are Sundays after instead of being reminded of its rich significance. If the creche is used, the shepherds and magi exchange places. The magi have been shown during the early Christmas cycle on a table distant to the creche as “coming from afar”, while the shepherds have been adoring. Epiphany is the feast traditionally connected with the visit of the Christ Child by the magi, and therefore they are placed at the Creche. The shepherds are then placed on the table facing somewhat away from the creche, reminding us that not only did they come and see, but they also went to tell all that they had seen and heard.
Preparing for Worship: For those preparing to receive The Lord’s Supper, please refer to p. 328 in the hymnal. Prayers for worship are located on the first page of the hymnal.
Lord’s Supper: Christ gives His body and blood in the Sacrament for the forgiveness of sins. Those who are in fellowship with the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod are welcome to Holy Communion. Others we ask that you wait until our pastor can review with you the Gospel and the Lord’s Supper.
Prayers for the week:
* Joyce Louden’s sister, Donna Cox, cancer. * Rick Nyman’s niece, Elizabeth Nyman, cancer. Also, his friends, Howie and Jan—Jan has advanced cancer. * The Whitmire’s neighbor, Russ Wheat, who has advanced cancer. * Jennifer Doerschlag, health issues; also a family friend, Taylor, and his family with medical issues.
*If you would like a prayer in the bulletin, please call or email pastor by Thursday*For pastoral emergencies and care, please call me at 972-802-0444
Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
(Hebrews 10:23-25 ESV)