The Feast of the Epiphany, celebrated on January 6th, is one of the oldest in the Church and one of the greatest in the ecclesiastical year. The word Epiphany is a Greek word which signifies a manifestation or revelation. During the first three centuries the manifestation of Christ to the chosen people, and His manifestation as the Savior of all races and nations, were celebrated on the same day, but since the 4th century, December 25th has been the feast of the Nativity, or Christmas, and January 6th the feast of the Epiphany, or the feast of the Three Kings. It is so-called because the Gospel of the day tells us that Wise Men, or Magi, came from the East to Jerusalem saying: “Where is He that is born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and we have come to adore Him.” They may have come from Arabia, Chaldea or Persia. Tradition says that there were three, Gaspar, Melchior and Balthaser. The prophecy that “a star shall rise out of Jacob,” and the teaching of the prophet Daniel at Babylon had spread throughout the East. When the mysterious star appeared, learned men recognized it as a sign that the coming of the Messias was at hand and that He would be born in Judea. Following the star they reached Bethlehem. “And going into the house they found the child with Mary, His Mother, and falling down they adored Him; and opening their treasures, they offered to Him gifts, gold, frankincense and myrrh.”
Lives of the Saints, pages 23-24.
O God, who on this day revealed Thy Only begotten Son to the Gentiles under the guidance of a star, mercifully grant that we who know Thee now by faith, may be led on even to look upon the beauty of Thy majesty. Amen.