January is full of feast days (and I don’t mean the sort that go along with bowl games and New Year’s Day parties). I mean the sort of feast day that moves us through the life of Christ. We begin on January 1 with the Naming and Circumcision of Jesus. On this day, we celebrate the fact that God sent Jesus to live under His Law for our sake (Galatians 4:4), as well as His receiving the name that is above every name, Jesus (Philippians 2:9-10). As the angel said, “For he will save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21).
January 6 is a significant date in the life of the Church. In fact, in the history of the Church, January 6, or the Epiphany of our Lord, was celebrated as “Christmas” before we celebrated December 25, and we still sometimes call it the “Gentile Christmas.” The Epiphany, or “appearing” of the Lord, commemorates the coming of the Magi to the house (not in the stable, as we often see in Nativity scenes!) where Jesus was with His mother and father (Matthew 2:1-12). The importance of this date is that the Magi were the first Gentiles, or non-Jews, to bow in reverence before the young Jesus. Jesus is the Savior of all the nations, even us! In some parts of the Church, Epiphany is still more significant than Christmas—which might not be a bad practice to recover, considering what Christmas has become for many people.