The celebration of Epiphany has always been important to me. In the Nativity narratives, the arrival at Bethlehem of the Kings – also known as The Three Wise Men or The Magi – with their gifts, gets all mixed up with the Christmas story. But, traditionally, their involvement has been marked at the conclusion of the Christmas Season – the 12th day of Christmas – on 6th January. This is the Christian festival commemorating, as the Church tells us, ‘the manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles in the persons of the Magi’. In more recent times, ‘epiphany’ has come to mean an appearance of a deity, or a sudden, intuitive perception of or insight into the reality or essential meaning of something.
Suggested tune: “Rhuddlan”
God incarnate, living presence
of the Lord that dwells above;
come to us in human weakness,
not your power or might to prove,
but to show, in Christ among us,
what it means to live in Love.
God, Emmanuel, kings and scholars
travelled far to worship you,
bringing gifts, their precious treasures,
offering all that you were due,
finding in a humble stable
God was making all things new.
Here we gather, faithful people,
seeking God in human form;
some with purpose and direction;
some unsure, afraid, or worn;
now to join these ancient travellers,
come to see God’s Love reborn.
See! We come to lay before you
costly gifts of love and care,
different kinds of faithful service,
precious lives we’re called to share …
God among us, here we give you
all we have and all we are.
God incarnate, living Wonder,
heaven and earth in harmony …
God, Emmanuel, promised presence,
Word made flesh in Christ we see …
glory, praise and prayer we bring you!
This is our Epiphany!
The Day of Our Epiphany
Suggested tune: “Mary Morrison” (or any DLM melody)
This hymn is in a ‘question and answer’ format, the first half of each verse being the question, the second half the response. It can be sung with a solo or small group singing the first part of each verse and the whole congregation singing the second – as suggested below. The final verse lends itself to being sung by everyone. If no soloists are available, the congregation can be split into two parts. And, of course, the hymn can be sung by everyone from start to finish.
What time did your new star appear?
What day, what week, what month, what year?
How did you know when you should start?
When were you ready to depart?
This was our time; this was our day;
This was our call; this was our way;
This was our life, our everything –
To travel far to find our King.
Where did your journeying begin?
Where was your home? Who were your kin?
Did you wait long once you’d prepared?
Were you excited, bold, or scared?
This was our faith; this was our now;
This was our trust; this was our vow;
This mattered more than anything –
To travel on to meet our King.
Did you know where you’d find the babe –
In palace, mansion, byre or cave?
Did you believe your star would stay
Above the place where Jesus lay?
This was our truth; this was so right;
This was our purpose, this our light,
With precious gifts our lives to bring,
To travel long to greet our King.
Can we come too when you bow low,
And understand what you now know?
Though we’ve no gifts when we appear,
Are we allowed to enter here?
This is our joy; this is our worth,
To share with you the Saviour’s birth.
This is the hope to which we cling –
You too can worship Christ the King.
We come, the greatest and the least,
To join the ancients from the East.
We bring the gifts of what we are –
Christ’s pilgrims come from near and far,
Our God Incarnate now to see
This day of our Epiphany,
And with the ancient sages sing –
“Give glory to the King of kings.”
Two original hymns by © Tom Gordon, The Feast of Epiphany 2021