Although the main visuals for Epiphany are the star, the magi, and the gold, frankincense, and myrrh, the main message of the feast of the Epiphany is the revelation of the birth of Christ to the Gentiles — the “nations.” For most Christians, that means us: if you, your family, or your ancestors were not Jewish, then this is the feast for you.

Until Epiphany, everybody in the Christmas story was Jewish. Mary, Joseph, Elizabeth, the people coming to Bethlehem for the census who filled up all the lodgings, the shepherds to whom the heavenly host appeared: everybody. But the three wise men weren’t Jewish: they came from other nations, and came looking for the new king of the Jews, to bring him gifts and do him homage.

You can see this theme in the other readings for the day: the first reading from Isaiah foretells kings from the “nations” coming to Jerusalem where the LORD will appear in glory, bringing wealth, and frankincense, and myrrh. Psalm 72 also talks about kings bringing tribute, and rejoices that “Every nation on earth shall adore you, LORD.” And Paul’s letter to the Ephesians spells out the good news:

that the Gentiles are coheirs, members of the same body,
and copartners in the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.