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The Epiphany, or the Manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles.
The Collect.
O GOD, who by the leading of a star didst manifest thy only-begotten Son to the Gentiles: Mercifully grant, that we, which know thee now by faith, may after this life have the fruition of thy glorious Godhead; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

[Old Testament Reading: Isaiah 60.1-9]
Psalter: Psalm 96
Epistle Reading: Ephesians 3.1-11
Gospel Reading: St. Matthew 2.1-12

Barbee and Zahl:
“[By the “skin of our teeth”] is an apt expression to describe the inclusion of the Gentiles in the Kingdom of God. To use the old language, we have been grafted into the vine of Israel; or, to use the new, by the skin of our teeth. “For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; for blindness in part has happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in” (Romans 11:25). Our inclusion has nothing to do with us! The Collect expresses this Pauline mystery of divine undeserved favor, the Epiphany or appearance of the Messiah to the Gentiles, with a bold stroke. The prayer describes the moment of the Magis’ discovery of Christ and then turns it right around to us. We are Gentiles who know Christ not by sight, as the Magi did, but by faith. Moreover, we are not genetically related, most of us, to Israel, from whom the Messiah has sprung. So it is in every sense “by faith,” and not by means of something palpable, whether sight or sure inheritance, that we are in relation to God. We are in there “by the skin of our teeth,” or rather, by His free decision to make us His. We had nothing to do with it” (15).

As with Gladness Men of Old
William Chatterton Dix, 1860 (alt. 1961)

As with gladness, men of old
Did the guiding star behold
As with joy they hailed its light
Leading onward, beaming bright
So, most glorious God, may we
Evermore be led to Thee.

As with joyful steps they sped
To that lowly cradle-bed
There to bend the knee before
Him Whom Heaven and earth adore;
So may we with willing feet
Ever seek Thy mercy seat.

As they offered gifts most rare
At that cradle rude and bare;
So may we with holy joy,
Pure and free from sin’s alloy,
All our costliest treasures bring,
Christ, to Thee, our heavenly King.

Holy Jesus, every day
Keep us in the narrow way;
And, when earthly things are past,
Bring our ransomed souls at last
Where they need no star to guide,
Where no clouds Thy glory hide.

In the heavenly country bright,
Need they no created light;
Thou its Light, its Joy, its Crown,
Thou its Sun which goes not down;
There forever may we sing
Alleluias to our King!