The Roman Catholic and Protestant churches emphasize the visit of the Magi when they celebrate the Epiphany. The Eastern Orthodox churches focus on Jesus’ baptism. It commemorates the first two occasions on which Jesus’ divinity, according to Christian belief, was manifested: when the three kings visited infant Jesus in Bethlehem, and when John the Baptist baptized him in the River Jordan. Epiphany is one of the oldest Christian feasts. One morning they had disappeared and he asked his wife where they had gone. And though dressing up is a super fun way to participate in Halloween, it’s important to think twice before you throw on just any old costume. The King Cake isn’t any old cake, though.
The kings are important because their visit illustrates that Jesus was the king of all kings who came for the Jews and the Gentiles. Epiphany is a holy day that celebrates the revelation of Jesus to three Wise Men (or Kings) when they arrived at His place of birth after following the unusual star in the sky. Various paintings, artworks and sketches show the three wise men and Jesus. I hope those poor Wise Men make it to Jesus someday. I’m not sure the Wise Men envisioned people celebrating the anniversary of their harrowing, two-year-long journey through a parched desert by bringing out the sweets and digging in, but that’s the way it worked out and I’m glad it did.
Don’t put the Christmas carols away on December 26. Keep them in rotation for all 12 days of Christmas and especially on this final night get them out and sing them. This hip hop costume can make you look like your favorite rock star on Halloween night. Orange and black are Halloween colors because orange is associated with fall harvest and black is associated with darkness and death. When everyone else has put the holidays behind them and are waiting for winter to be over, Epiphany is the perfect excuse to pop the cork on the champagne, heat up the wassail, and celebrate with friends. When I first got with the times and began using social media, I noticed friends sharing pictures in early January of their front doors with an incomprehensible algebra formula written on them with chalk.
Any chalk will do, but be sure it is blessed by a priest. A friend named Randy told me the story of how he first learned about how the Three Kings “arrive” at the manger on Epiphany. She told him that the Kings are supposed to move a little closer to the manger scene each day until they finally arrive. This is a simple little tradition, but adds to the festivity of the season. Mummering around the Christmas season until Epiphany is a 200-year-old tradition in Canada. Epiphany is not a public holiday in Canada. I soon learned it wasn’t a math problem that everyone simultaneously scratched on their doors in a fit of mass hysteria, it’s an Epiphany tradition.