Epiphanytide is a season of new beginnings. The Season after Epiphany is technically not a “season” like Advent, Christmas or Lent. Rather, it is that part of Ordinary Time that follows Christmas and precedes Lent (Ordinary Time then picks up again following Pentecost). The length of the season after Epiphany is dependent upon the date of Easter (Easter being a floating Feast—the first Sunday following the first full moon, following the Spring equinox).
Epiphanytide is all about new beginnings, indeed surprising beginnings. The Gospel lessons focus on the start of Jesus’ adult ministry (the Baptism of Jesus, the first miracle at the Wedding at Cana, his inaugural sermon at the synagogue at Nazareth) but each new beginning contains an “epiphany-like” quality.
An epiphany is a surprising encounter which attracts our attention, where something extraordinary is discovered in a seemingly ordinary situation. Jesus at his baptism, for example, appears like one repentant sinner among many. More than that, this surprising encounter not only draws our attention, but demands from us both interpretation. “Who IS this? WHAT is happening?” and the response “What does this have to do with me?”
Our prayer is that this Epiphany Season will lead us to the place where we each hear that call afresh as we head into our Lenten journey.
How lovely shines the Morning Star!
The nations see and hail afar
The light in Judah shining.
O David’s Son of Jacob’s race,
My Bridegroom and my King of grace,
For you my heart is pining.
Lowly, holy, great and glorious
O victorious Prince of graces,
Filling all the heav’nly places.
Philipp Nicolai, 1597