What do we mean when we say the word epiphany?

by | Jan 9, 2023 | Faith, Writing and Reading | 2 comments |

Yesterday at church, we celebrated Epiphany, a commemoration of the coming of the Magi as the first manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles. The Magi were the “three kings” who came from the east, following the star and bringing gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. The story appears in Matthew 2:1-12. The traditional date for Epiphany is January 6th; it is customary to take down and put away Christmas decorations thereafter.

Epiphany in Christian faith

Isaiah prophesized the coming of the Messiah, the anointed One, to all:

“Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you. See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the Lord rises upon you and his glory appears over you. Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn. Isaiah 60:1-3 NIV

As our pastor said in yesterday’s message, “Epiphany is the light of His salvation, the revealing of something for a deeper, greater purpose so something can be accomplished.” Our lives changed; our lives honoring our Savior; our offering of ourselves as witnesses.

Epiphany as perception of something essential

Have you ever experienced a deep “ah-ha?” More than a “now I get it” moment, but a manifestation or perception of something essential. As when I let go of my need for success as a writer, and then it happened.

My life changed—not my will but His; the focus of my life on Him; my work offered as witness. 

And peace.

Epiphany as a revealing scene or moment

My readers might remember that I’m reading War and Peace. Tolstoy’s descriptions and use of internal dialogue is not only masterful but also revealing. The characters as flawed people become real in scene and moments.

In his “Read More Books” November 14, 2021 newsletter, Jeremy Anderberg stated that one reason to read Tolstoy’s masterpiece is to wrestle with the big questions that history and life have to offer:

How is “greatness” defined? Do people shape events or do events shape people? How do we view the tides and cataclysms of history when we’ve living in them? What’s the point of life? What’s the point of love?


All of which brings me back to Epiphany, back to my word for this year—peace—back to my mission and our pastor’s message. Epiphany. The revealing of something for a greater purpose so something can be accomplished.

On this chilly, ice and snow-covered morning, I will take down the Christmas decorations and ponder the Scriptures, the messages, the epiphany moments.


  1. bigskybuckeye

    Even though I no longer attend a Lutheran church, the season of Epiphany still reaches out to me each season. Thank you Carole for the reminders of its meaning and application to our everyday lives.

    • Carole Duff

      Thank you for your comment, Richard! -C.D.


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