Hot on the heels of the blessed feast of the Nativity in the flesh of our Lord and God and Saviour Jesus Christ, we celebrate His willing condescension to be baptized in the River Jordan, and the revelation of the Holy Trinity, literally a Theophany, “ the appearance of God”.
It is a feast that steps into the event of Christ’s baptism; and the changing of water, and even creation. Christ’s Baptim took the perishable and temporal element of water, that which is today and which is evaporated tomorrow, and gave it a sacramental and redemptive character, changing John’s baptism of repentance, (that which was limited and fleeting), into a baptism by the “Holy Spirit, and with fire” (Lk.3:16), soaking into our nature so as to change the very heart of humanity.
What is profound about this feast is not just that the Lord of Glory willed to be baptized by a creature made of clay and dust, nor that water and even all creation was changed, with the possibility of manifesting communion with the Father; but that all humanity can share in this, “ Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. (Is. 55:1).
The feast of Theophany is also the feast of our baptism into Christ and into the life of the Holy Trinity: to God the Father, by God the Son, through God the Holy Spirit (Mt. 28:19). It is a personal Pascha of sorts, made real every moment when we chose to make manifest the death of sin, brokenness, fear, and desperation, in our baptism, and the changing our life, having being raised to “walk in the newness of life” (Rm. 6:4).
It is, as the holy Apostle Paul so beautifully states “washing of regeneration and the renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour, that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” (Tts 3:5-7).