Sunday, January 4, 2009

Thoughts on Epiphany

Today was the feast of the Epiphany, though I like to call it "Three Kings". My mother used to insist that we keep our Christmas tree up until Epiphany (though she used the old fixed date of January 6, not the movable feast date we use today). When I lived in Washington, a Cajun friend used to head back to New Orleans to return with the King Cake.

In church this morning, I explained it to my children that on Epiphany we celebrate the first Christmas presents.

As the homilist this morning explained, the really funny thing is that Matthew's Gospel does not refer to three persons, and does not call them kings. Rather, they are an indeterminate number of "magi" or wise men. Little is given of who they were or where they came but the general "from the east." The gifts too are symbolic -- gold of Christ's kingship, incense of his priesthood, and myrrh for his death.

So Happy Epiphany!

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