New Year’s Day doesn’t commemorate any historical event or person. It does not correspond to any astronomical milestone, since it misses the winter solstice by twelve days. It seems to be an arbitrary accountant’s convenience for bookkeeping. Yet, we celebrate as though the start of the New Year had some intrinsic significance. Any excuse for a party! Since it is not tied to a solemn occasion, noble character or spiritual value, New Year’s is the ideal rationale for abandonment to uninhibited excess (for one night).
But six days after New Year’s comes Epiphany, whose significance is lost on the contemporary Church as anti-climax to Christmas, if even recognized. Yet, here is the climax of Christmas. The revelation of Epiphany enables us to perceive the mystery of Christ. In former generations this mystery was not made known to humankind, as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit: that is, all peoples have become fellow heirs, members of the same body, and sharers in the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel. (Ephesians 3:4-6).