Those who worshipped the stars were taught by a star ...
In my more liturgy-lite, independent evangelical/charismatic days, Epiphany was always one of those feasts we overlooked. Sure, we had Christmas and Easter, but we never really bothered with Lent, Advent or any of the other traditional fasts and feasts of the Church year.
I wouldn't say I observe them with any great alacrity or discipline now, but I certainly believe there's a lot to be said for marking time in this way - it provides a rhythm and a structure to the year. Not in a superstitious sense, as if these seasons are magical or intrinsically more 'spiritual' in some way. But as opportunities to pause, reflect and celebrate the key events of the life of Christ and special anchor-points for the Christian faith.
I attended a Churches Together service on an Epiphany theme on Sunday. Since then I've been Facebooking away with an Orthodox friend about the Troporian for Pre-Theophany and about Theophany itself - the next Feast which comes up in their Calendar. The Devil may have all the best tunes, but the Orthodox certainly have all the best words. As well as a good line in beards and funny hats.
For the last ten years or so, I've grown to love and appreciate this Orthodox prayer used by the Eastern Churches in their liturgies over the Christmas and Epiphany period:
'Thy Nativity, O Christ our God, has shone to the world the light of wisdom! For by it those who worshipped the stars were taught by a star to adore Thee, the Sun of Righteousness, and to know Thee, the Orient from on high. O Lord, glory to Thee!'
May we all gain that light of wisdom and know that 'Sun of Righteousness', the 'Orient from on high.'
I can feel a hymn coming on ... 'As with gladness men of old/Did the guiding star behold ...'