Sunday, 6 January 2013


The feast of Epiphany falls on January 6th and is the climax of Christmas, marking the end of the twelve days of Christmas and celebrating the visit of the Wise Men to the Messiah. These men are often called Kings or Magi. They brought valuable gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh to honour the Divine Infant.

The gift of gold was the gift people usually gave to their King. By giving gold they were recognising Jesus as their King. The second gift, frankincense, is a white gum from a tree called Arbor Thurisfrom. After hardening the gum forms a hard resin which when burnt gives off a fragrant smell. It was burnt as an offering to God during worship, and is often used today as incense for sacerdotal ritual, especially during Mass, over the Easter period and at funerals. It is also used as medicine and as a perfume. The third gift was myrrh, which was also a gum from a thorny tree. Myrrh is a wound healer because it has antiseptic, anti-inflammatory and pain relieving qualities. It was used as an embalming material when someone had died.

Epiphany is the day when all Christmas decorations need to be taken down.

The day before Epiphany is the twelfth day of Christmas and is sometimes called Twelfth Night. In the Church calendar the Epiphany season lasts until the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday.

To unveil the beginning is to unlock the mystery of the end. For where the beginning is, there the end will be. Happy is he who stands at the beginning he will know the end and will not taste death.


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