Sunday, January 5, 2020

Epiphany - The End of Christmastide

Often lost or overlooked in the quieter days following the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, Epiphany (January 6) approaches. Observed as the end of Christmastide, Epiphany ushers in Ordinary Time.

We celebrate the visit of the Magi to the Christ Child, retelling the story of their journey to Bethlehem as we reflect upon what it means to seek Christ today, and what gifts we can offer.

It is perhaps the timing of Epiphany that makes it one of my favorites. It is the dawn of a new year, a fresh slate, and an opportunity to realign my path with God's purpose and offer Him my very best.

Celebrating Epiphany is a joyous occasion, whether you share in the fun with the littles in your life, or even in a quiet, personal observance alone or with your spouse.  With stars and crowns and kings, it sheds a golden light upon the darker days of winter.

Today I'm sharing a number of ideas for ways that you can observe and celebrate this special day. Of course, I am by no means suggesting that you do all of them. So why not sit back with a warm cup of tea or your favorite beverage, maybe nibble on a few lingering holiday treats, if you still have them around, and decide on a few ideas that seem do-able to you. You can always come back to this post next year (it will be easily tucked away under Christmas and Epiphany).

Traditions
Grass Boxes - after their long journey, the camels the three kings rode in on will be tired and hungry. Have your child leave a box of grass (you could easily buy some fake straw or maybe even use some easter grass) under their bed for the camels. The next morning they will awake to find a few small treasures (gifts), the camels left in appreciation.

The Blessing of the Home - traditionally a priest blesses the home, but the head of the house can carry out the blessing as well. The traditional ceremony can be found here.

The Chalking of the Door
(if desired the head of the home can bless the chalk, prior to chalking the door)

20 + C + M + B + 20 

The C, M, and B are placed in between the numbers of the current year, with crosses in between each symbol. The three letters have two significations: the invocation Christus Mansionem Benedicat (Christ bless this house), as well as the first initial of the names of the three Magi: Caspar, Melchior, and Balthazar.


The Blessing of the Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh  - Some traditionally include their gold (wedding bands, etc) or other precious jewels blessed as well.

Crafts
Epiphany Prayer Boxes - I love this idea, Will you give Jesus your heart? Will you give Jesus your mind? Will you give Jesus your treasures?
Three Wise Men Paper Toys - These would be quick and easy to make, and fun for the littles in your life.
Three Kings made from toilet paper rolls. Just use materials you already have!
Here's another cute Three Kings craft, made using popsicle sticks, construction paper and glitter!
Glittery Crowns - another simple craft idea. These would be pretty made up and sitting on the table with a small votive candle in the middle.
Three Kings Crowns - a simple crown for your child to wear.
Three Kings Ornament - just print it off and let your child color and decorate it.

Food
King's Cake - this recipe is actually for Queen Mary, but would be perfect for the Epiphany.
Eggnog Pound Cake - I just love the sound of this recipe, and think it would also be fitting.

Whatever recipe you use, be sure to hide Baby Jesus inside which is symbolic of the Holy Family's flight to avoid King Herod.  Whoever finds the baby in the slice of cake receives a special blessing for the upcoming year.

Wassail - Wassail is popular throughout the Christmas season, but is also traditionally served on Twelfth Night and/or on the Epiphany.  This recipe is for an easy one, made in the crock pot.

The Gifts of the Kings - the are made using Pringles cans, but it would be lovely to place the contents in bowls for your table.

Jewel Bark - this candy would be lovely to make especially for this day.

Other Ideas
Watch The Star, for little ones, but maybe your not so little ones, too.
The Star, for the older ones


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