“The curious uncertainty that surrounds the feast of Epiphany is as old as the feast itself. We know that long before Christmas was celebrated, Epiphany was the highest holiday in the Eastern and Western churches. Its origins are obscure, but it is certain that since ancient times this day has brought to mind four different events: the birth of Christ, the baptism of Christ, the wedding at Cana, and the arrival of the Magi from the East…. Be that as it may, since the fourth century the church has left the birth of Christ out of the feast of Epiphany…. The removal of the birth of Christ from his baptismal day had great significance. In gnostic and heretical circles in the East, the idea arose that the baptismal day was actually the day of Christ’s birth as the Son of God…. But therein lay the possibility of a dangerous error, namely, a misunderstanding of God’s incarnation…. If God had not accepted Jesus as his Son until Jesus’ baptism, we would remain unredeemed. But if Jesus is the Son of God who from his conception and birth assumed our own flesh and blood, then and then alone is he true man and true God; only then can he help us; for then the “hour of salvation” for us has really come in his birth; then the birth of Christ is the salvation of all people.”

~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer

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