The Church this day celebrates the festival of the Epiphany. This word signifyingÂ manifestation, may be applied to Christmas-day, when CHRIST wasÂ manifested in theÂ flesh; but it is appropriated by the Church to this day, when he was manifested to the Gentiles.
In celebrating this Festival, we design to show our gratitude to GOD, for manifesting the Gospel to the Gentile world; thus vouchsafing to them equal privileges with the Jews: and the first instance of this divine favor to the Gentile world was, when the birth of CHRIST was declared unto the wise men of the East.
The first Lessons contain prophecies of the increase of the Church, by the abundant accession of the Gentiles. The second Lesson for the morning, and the Epistle, contain a vindication of this gracious dispensation of GOD to the Gentile world. The Gospel gives an account of the manifestation of the Saviour to the wise men of the East. And the second Lesson for the Evening Service contains an account of the manifestation of the divine power of CHRIST, by the first miracle which he wrought at Cana or Galilee.
[Excerpt from John Henry Hobart,Â A Companion for the Book of Common Prayer, Containing an Explanation of the ServiceÂ (1859), 81.]