The Other Epiphany

And the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form, like a dove; and a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.” Luke 3:22 ESV

Besides the Orthodox tradition that January 6th is the day the wise men arrived in Bethlehem, the word “Epiphany, as defines it is “a sudden, intuitive perception of or insight into the reality.” Not to take anything away from the wise men’s story, but how many know that there in another Epiphany? Locally here, in Tarpon Springs Florida, the Greek Orthodox church, celebrates this day by having their Archbishop throw a white cross into the Spring Bayou. Next a crowd of teen-aged boys dive in and the one who comes up with it receives a special blessing for himself and his family. This locally famous event recalls not the arrival of three men with camels and gifts but rather the baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist.

All over the world as people think of wise men presenting their gifts before the baby Jesus they get warm fuzzy feelings and wish they could have been there to see a cuddly baby in a manger. A far less cuddly Jesus reveals himself at His baptism thirty years later at the Jordan river. There, as God the Father looked down as Jesus, stood dripping wet from His baptism, He spoke with a voice that He wanted everyone to hear, “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased!” Just imagine, that the God who spoke the sun moon and stars into existence, was so excited that He spoke again and sent His Spirit down in the visible form of a dove. Now that’s an Epiphany! Jesus Christ was getting ready to heal the sick, raise the dead, walk on water and multiply bread. It was almost as if He was getting ready to go to work. His job however was not to write books, run a business or become a political leader; it was to show who God was to a world full of lonely, hurting and lost people. And considering the crazy year we have all been through we need Him more than ever today. Why not use this other Epiphany as the perfect time to invite Jesus to get to work in your life today?

For those interested to learn a little more about our local Epiphany celebration here is a short YouTube account. Have a blessed Epiphany day everyone!