Epiphanytide is what we’re in right now. It’s the stretch between the adoration of the magi and the Presentation of Christ in the Temple, or Ash Wednesday, depending on your tradition.

That’s because there’s not just one Epiphany. “Epiphany” is the Western word for what the Orthodox call more accurately a “Theophany.” An epiphany/theophany is an event that reveals Christ’s Godhead. The adoration of the magi is such an event. So is the presentation of Christ in the Temple, His baptism in the Jordan River, and His first miracle.

Hymn writers sometimes capitalize on this. And so you get the hymn below, which we (mostly) just sing on Epiphany, but which includes all the epiphanies.

*       *       *       *       *

How vain the cruel Herod’s fear,
when told that Christ the King is near!
he takes not earthly realms away,
who gives the realms that ne’er decay.

The eastern sages saw from far
and followed on his guiding star;
by light their way to Light they trod,
and by their gifts confessed their God.

Within the Jordan’s sacred flood
the heavenly Lamb in meekness stood,
that he, to whom no sin was known,
might cleanse his people from their own.

Oh, what a miracle divine,
when water reddened into wine!
He spake the word, and forth it flowed
in streams that nature ne’er bestowed.

All glory, Jesus, be to thee
for this thy glad epiphany:
whom with the Father we adore
and Holy Ghost for evermore.

~ Caelius Sedulius (fl. 450); trans. J. M. Neale


About middlingpoet

From the Gawain poet to Rainer Maria Rilke: I love traditional poetry.
This entry was posted in Anglican, Eastern Orthodox, Epiphany, Hymns, Lutheran, Methodist, Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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