Advent Day 47 of 50: Non-Violent Revolutionary
On the Feast of Theophany, January 6, we celebrate the Revelation of God. The Armenian word for it is a compound word of Asdvadz (God) + haydnutiun (revelation) = Asdvadzahaydnutiun. The English word is a direct translation of the Armenian. Theo (God) + Epiphany (revelation) = Theophany. The Feast was and still is celebrated on January 6 by the Armenian Church. We described the mechanics of the date change earlier in this series, but add this sidenote so as not to confuse the Armenian Celebration of Theophany with what is sometimes referred to as the Orthodox Christmas on January 7. That date is merely December 25th transposed from the Gregorian calendar to the older Julian calendar, which has a difference of 13 days. Hence, on the Julian calendar the Baptism of Christ is celebrated on January 19. The Armenians Church is the only Church that celebrates Theophany and remembers the events in the life of Our Lord Jesus Christ from the Nativity to His Baptism, on January 6.
We began the 50 day cycle of Advent with a promise that when we arrived at the Theophany, saying Merry Christmas would be an inadequate expression considering the awesome event that takes place on that day. The God of the Universe, that which put everything in motion, takes on human form and teaches us to love and embrace one another as an expression of our Faith.
We read the entire Sermon on the Mount (Matthew chapters 5 through 7) and the essential teachings of Jesus were disclosed to us. It is a novel message which insists on taking personal responsibility, articulating our Faith as a course of action, to strive for the perfect by exercising Love.
Very simply, Jesus Christ led a revolution, and he did so in a non-violent manner. The Armenian Church’s celebration of Theophany is in recognition of that revolution. It is not connected to all the trappings that come with Christmas celebrations in the West, and yes, even in the East. Theophany is the great mystery, the un-understandable – that which Created life has humbled Himself and taken human form to reveal the wonder of Eternity.
We end with a prayer that comes to us by way of an Armenian hymn on the Feast of Theophany A great and sublime mystery is revealed on this day: the shepherds sing with the angels and give good tidings to the world. A new King is born in the city of Bethlehem, sons of men, praise Him because He became flesh for us.
Cover photo: Luna & Gregory Beylerian, 2023