The January 6 Epiphany

The word epiphany means “a manifestation, a showing forth.” Starting in the third century, January 6 became the Feast Day of the Epiphany, when Christians celebrate the Magi finding the baby Jesus with his mother at their “house” in Bethlehem (Matthew 2:11). The Western churches use Luke’s story (2:1–20) and December 25 to celebrate this birth.

Neither story is true, but both are metaphors showing us, sixty years after Jesus was murdered, that this birth was extra special. The epiphany in these stories is that this humble birth is all about the Christ (“Messiah” in Hebrew) coming into our presence.

I embrace the January 6 Epiphany. The December fairytale has become so commercialized that Jesus’s birth is now about presents, not presence.

On January 6, 2021, there were a series of other “epiphanies,” or eye-openers, that took place in Washington, DC—scary ones.

Epiphany #1: Democracy in the United States is much more fragile than I ever imagined. This insurrection could have turned into a coup. Many Congress members and Capitol police easily could have been murdered by the mobs. We know that militias and white supremacist groups have proliferated during the past four years, and they were there and armed. Our leaders can never be allowed to pass this off as “a tourist group.”

Epiphany #2: The fragility of white people is another revelation. With the immigration of Hispanics, Middle Easterners, Asians, and Black people from many different countries, it has become obvious how many white people feel threatened by folks who are different. For me, one of our country’s strengths is the great diversity.

Epiphany #3: Too many folks believe that the United States ought to be a fundamentalist Christian theocracy ruled by their biblical laws, narrow-mindedness, and white men. A strong democracy has to be based on the separation of church and state.

Epiphany #4: There are almost a majority of citizens in our nation who have no interest in facts. They believe the voting was rigged, Biden stole the election, Trump is still our president, COVID-19 is a hoax, vaccines don’t work, and (according to QAnon) the United States is run by pedophiles. My dilemma is, what does one do with this mass of people who have no interest in truth, facts, reality, and the necessary work for the best interest of our country?

Epiphany #5: Over half the people we elect to go to Washington, DC, seem to have no interest in doing what is best for our country but only for their own self-interest. Our democracy is crumbling right underneath their eyes, and they couldn’t care less.

Epiphany #6: I am reading the book After Auschwitz by Richard L. Rubenstein (John Hopkins, 1992). One epiphany I’ve had while reading this book is the great similarities between Adolf Hitler and Donald Trump. This is nightmare material.

I hope that the Feast Day of the Epiphany will overpower—with lots of agape—all these recent epiphanies.

I would love your thoughts!

Peace Love Joy Hope



Photo courtesy of Europeana (CC0)

6 thoughts on “The January 6 Epiphany”

  1. “Christians” have been adding “stuff” to Christianity for centuries. So much that for some of us trying to walk with Jesus end up slogging through nothing that resembles his teachings or very little. We keep hanging on.

    Thank you for your perspective.

  2. Organized religion took over Buddhism, filling it full of rituals and laws, so why not Judaism, Christian and Muslim religions. As long as man, emphasis on man, runs the world, will be so evermore. People in need will be comforted by ritual and the belief they are superior to unbelievers. Nothing new, Bill. Sign me agnostic.

  3. I agree with everything you said and the above readers also. There is a real laziness in this country about learning the facts. And, a terrible fear of diversity exists also. May we all wake up before it is too late. Agape for all would be such a true blessing.

    • Thank you Betty for your email. I was a white boy raised in a black neighborhood and we lived in Hawai’i for 20 years. We lived there when white people (haoles) became a minority. Diversity was life. I think so many white supremacists (in all degrees) have never had many experiences living with diversity and the unknown scares them. However, I see this new generation (2 have 2 granddaughters in it) is much more open and accepting to people being different. I have a great of hope in them making this a better world in which to live.

  4. Thanks Bill. The USA is in a true spiritual vacuum at the moment. The Gods of power and greed reign. The USA needs a new overarching cosmic narrative to set itself right. The work of Teilard De Chardin, Thomas Berry, Ken Wilber and Ila Delio may help to construct a new 21 st cosmic origin myth to guide the world out of the serious planetary dangers we face. Peace Love Blessings ❤️


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