Sunday, January 3, 2010
The Manifestation of the Lord - Our House at Christmas, in Winter
I love this image of the Magi, a mosaic from the extraordinary churches of Ravenna. They are hurrying to see Jesus, the new-born King, and to bow down in adoration. In a way this haste on their part imitates the shepherds who hurried to Bethlehem to see the "word" that the angel had told them, about the Saviour born for them, who would be found wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.
The feast of the "Epiphany" of Jesus, is traditionally celebrated on the 12th day after Christmas, January 6th. In the dioceses of Canada this solemnity has been moved to the Sunday between January 2 and January 8 (this year on January 3).
Epiphania is a Greek word meaning "to manifest" or "to show ". The Feast of the Epiphany marks the first manifestation of the birth of Christ to the Gentiles. The Three Kings – given the names Melchior, Gaspar, and Balthazar in a late tradition — had come from the East in search of the Christ Child.
These searcheres after the Christ Child, also known as the Magi (from the Greek Magoi) also called 'the Wise Men', brought with them gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh – gold signifying that Jesus is King; frankincense, the symbol of prayer, signifying that Jesus is the Son of God, and myrrh, which is used to anoint the dead, signifying that Jesus would die for the salvation of all.
"If the Magi had come in search of an earthly King, they would have been disconcerted at finding that they had taken the trouble to come such a long way for nothing. Consequently they would have neither adored nor offered gifts. But since they sought a heavenly King, though they found in Him no signs of royal pre-eminence, yet, content with the testimony of the star alone, they adored: for they saw a man, and they acknowledged a God." --St. John Chrysostom
Adoration of the Magi, by Domenico Ghirlandaio, 1488
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A Last Look at the Christmas Decorations at Our House
We're not a community that keeps the Christmas decorations up until the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord (February 2), the fortieth day after Christmas, so it's always dicey to know whether, with Epiphany being early, how long the trees and lights will stay up, whether they'll make it even 'til Twelfth Night or January 6th, the traditional day for the Kings to arrive at the Christmas Crib.
So, herewith a last look at the colours of this Christmas Season: