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Epiphany: When the Work of Christmas Begins

Cortney Wright

For much of the Christian world, January 6th marks Epiphany. Epiphany marks the coming of the Magi as the first manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles, or the commemoration of the baptism of Christ (MWD).

In his sermon, “What is Epiphany? A Bridge from Christmas to Ordinary Time,” Reverend Dr. John P. Burgess, a professor of systematic theology, writes:

"For most of us, Epiphany is just a blip on the charts, but in the early church Epiphany was even more important than Christmas. Epiphany was the celebration of God’s revelation of Christ to the world. The point was not the birth of Jesus, but rather the manifestation of Jesus to the world. Epiphany declares that Christ has come; Christ is risen; Christ will come again.

"Ephesians 5:6-20 tells us just what happens when this light comes into the world. Yes, it shows us where we are and where we are headed. But this light does something even more—something both wonderful and frightening. The light of Jesus Christ shows us who we really are—light, just as Jesus is light."

If we are meant to be light, Howard Thurman’s Epiphany poem, “The Work of Christmas,” gives us direction as to how to be light.

The Work of Christmas

Howard Thurman

When the song of the angels is stilled, When the star in the sky is gone,

When the kings and princes are home,

When the shepherds are back with their flock,

The work of Christmas begins:

To find the lost,

To heal the broken,

To feed the hungry,

To release the prisoner,

To rebuild the nations,

To bring peace among others,

To make music in the heart.


Cortney Wright teaches Classical Composition, Literature, Grammar, Spelling, French, and Bible Study at Belmont Classical Academy, and is co-author of the phonics-based Classical Spelling Method.


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