HAPPY NEW YEAR from SOLI DEO GLORIA STUDIO
Epiphany isJanuary 6th. It commemorates the manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles in the persons of the Magi or Wise men; the Twelfth-day of the Christmas celebration which ends the last of the five weeks or forty days of Advent (December 29-January 6).
After forty days of awaiting the birth of “Emmanuel” (God with us) at Bethlehem, we celebrate the climax of Advent, Epiphany, when Jesus Christ is recognized as King by the wise men of the world. Christ Jesus is shown forth not just to the Jewish people but to the Gentile world.
Yes, the 40 days of Advent are over. The King of Kings is here! Wise men still seek him.
And we wait during our “40 years of tribulation” for the final Epiphany when every eye will see him, and every knee will bow and confess that Jesus Christ is King.
The Magi were members of the religious hierarchy of ancient Persia and Media (the region corresponding to modern Iran). They were scholars and practitioners of astrology and the first Gentiles, men of renown, to come and worship Jesus, the King (Matthew 2:1-12). Hieronymus Bosch painted an account of this historical event in 1495 (detail left — now in Madrid’s Prado).
To “show forth” Jesus to the world, Epiphany also celebrates The Baptism of Jesus and The Wedding Feast at Cana as depicted in these two modern day icons. The Baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River is seen as Jesus’ manifestation to the world as the Son of God.
The Wedding Feast at Cana shows forth his divinity as he performs his first miracle. This wedding was performed in a Gentile town in Galilee, not Judea. It is a fitting anticipation of Jesus’ own Wedding Feast in eternity celebrating with all nations tribes and tongues the Wedding Feast of the Lamb!
My recent commission (below) about the joy at the taste of new wine at the wedding feast in Cana or Jesus’ first miracle could be named Epiphany! An epiphany is also “
In the lower part of the painting are the six water jars for Jewish purification. The wedding celebration is happening! The central jar is the crucible of the cross, “the still point where the dance is” (T.S. Eliot), and the miracle truly happens. Jesus, the God-man, mediates between heaven and earth and out of his pierced side blood and water flow.
This crux of the first miracle is Jesus’ own blood sacrificed for sin that makes celebration in heaven possible. You may be able to see his thorn-crowned head in the red central stem of a chalice connecting heaven and earth. Christ is looking down on his mother Mary’s face in the base of the chalice.
At the top of the chalice (the top of the painting) is the figure of the Bride dressed in embroidered garments meeting her Lover, and on the left side The Lamb of God stands on a golden throne.
The chalice suggests Holy Communion, one of the sacraments that Jesus instituted for his “Bride” while she awaits full and perfect communion in heaven. Blues, reds, and golds symbolize the colors of water, blood, and Spirit — the three that bear witness to this first miracle that “shows forth” who Jesus is, the God who came to redeem a people (his Bride) for himself, the God who celebrates and loves his bride in the splendor of holiness and beauty.
This manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles and the revealing of His divinity are critical in the history of Redemption.
Advent has ended and we await the Second Advent with anticipation!
Happy New Year.