Epiphany Hymns and Their Story

“Songs of Thankfulness and Praise”

Once again, we find Christopher Wordsworth [1807-85] gracing the pages of many hymnals with this hymn used, most often,  during the season of Epiphany.  It was originally published under the title “Hymn for the 6th Sunday of Epiphany”.   “Epiphany” means to “show forth” or to “manifest” which is the key to this hymn.  
The first three verses are devoted to different incidents in which “God in man” is “made manifest” in the person and work of Jesus.  The first verse mentions the “star” which led the Maji.  The 2nd verse refers to Jesus’ baptism, and His inauguration into His office as Prophet, Priest, and King supreme.  The 3rd verse addresses incidents from other Epiphany Gospel texts.  “Jesus went about healing every disease and affliction among the people [Matthew 4:23].  
While the first three verses look backward, the fourth verse shifts to the future great and glorious Epiphany at the end of time.  AS sung in the hymn, we also pray for “grace to imitate Thee now”, and allusion to Paul’s exhortation that we be “imitators of God” [Ephesians 5:1].    Wordsworth asks “that we might become like Thee at Thy great Epiphany.”

Songs of thankfulness and praise, Jesus Lord, to Thee we raise.
Manifested by the star to the sages from afar,
Branch of royal David’s stem in Thy birth at Bethlehem:
Anthems be to Thee addressed, God in man made manifest.

LSB 394

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