Epiphany and the Baptism of Our Lord
The Epiphany of our Lord is celebrated on January 6 (January 7 for Roman Catholics in the USA) but is extended by some churches into a season that includes the weeks preceding Lent. This week is a significant launching point in the liturgical calendar for both western and eastern Christians. Epiphany and the Baptism of Jesus both serve as extensions of the revelation of light and knowledge that came through the Incarnation of Jesus at Christmas.
The Worship Sourcebook states that "The word 'epiphany' comes from a Greek word meaning 'manifestation or appearance.' In the context of church history, this word has become closely associated with the revelation of Christ in connection with the visit of the Magi." The adoration of the Magi is a sign that the light of Christ has come for the whole world, even Gentiles from the farthest reaches of the known world. Through the baptism of Jesus, the love of God is demonstrated and revealed as a Trinitarian relationship.
The Epiphany season places special emphasis on the teaching and healing ministry of Christ. The Season of Epiphany starts on January 6th and ends the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday. From Christmastide to the beginning of Lent worshipers grow in an awareness of the significance of the entire life of Jesus and prepare for the call to discipleship that will happen in Lent.