The word Epiphany comes from the Greek word επιφάνειαmeaning "to manifest" or "to show". The celebration of the Epiphany of our Lord celebrates the arrival of the Magi (or Wise Men) in Bethlehem to worship the baby Jesus (Matthew 2). This day is also regarded as Jesus' first manifestation as the Christ to the outside the Jewish community. "A light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel." (Luke 2:32 NRSV).
The Magi were guided by the Star of Bethlehem on their journey. This theme of light continues through Epiphany. We celebrate Jesus as the light of the world, continuing the theme started in Advent (when the church prays for the arrival of light of God in the world) and Christmas (when we celebrate the arrival of this light in Jesus the Christ). "The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it." (John 1:5 NRSV)
The Epiphany season concludes with Transfiguration Sunday, when Jesus is again revealed as God's Beloved Son (Matthew 17:1-9; Mark 9:2-8; Luke 9:28-36), echoing the words spoken at Jesus' baptism (Matthew 3:13-17; Mark 1:9-11; Luke 3:21-22).
“Brightest and best of the stars of the morning,
Dawn on our darkness and lend us your aid.
Star of the East, the horizon adorning,
Guide where the infant Redeemer is laid.”
Hymn #84, Lutheran Book of Worship