Saturday, January 2, 2010

Feast of the Epiphany

The Epiphany of Christ, Raphael Sanzio , 1508, scene 50 of the Raphael Loggia

This year the Feast of the Epiphany will be celebrated on Sunday, January 3rd. The Epiphany is on January 6th but in the US is celebrated on the first Sunday following January 1st. Epiphany, or "twelfth night of Christmas," is traditionally celebrated in honor of Christ's birth, of the adoration of the Magi, and of the baptism of Christ's (also celebrated on the first Sunday following Epiphany), three manifestations of the Lord's divinity.
The blessing of the home is a popular Epiphany custom. using specially blessed chalk (your parish priest will bless the chalk, if you ask, or use the prayer of blessing below), many households mark their entrance door with the year and with the inscription CMB, the initial Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar, the names of the three wise man in legend. The inscription also stands for Christus Mansionem Benedicat, which means "Christ, bless this home." The popular form the inscription takes is 20+C+M+B+10. It remains above the doorway until Pentecost.
Blessing of Chalk Let us pray. O Lord God, bless this creature chalk to make it helpful to man. Grant that we who use it with faith and inscribe with it upon the entrance of our homes may enjoy physical health and spiritual protection. Through Christ our Lord. Amen. House Blessing Lord God of Heaven and Earth, who hast revealed thine only-begotten Son to every nation by the guidance of a star: Bless this house and all who inhabit it. Fill them with the light of Christ, that their love for others may truly reflect thy love. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Read Song of the Camels by Elizabeth Coatsworth We Three Kings by Olga Zharkova The Story of the Three Wise Kings by Tomie dePaola We Three Kings illustrated by Gennady Spirin The Last Straw by Fredrick H. Thury

• Place the three kings in your nativity set • Exchange gifts – However the exchange of gifts on the solemnity of the Epiphany should retain a Christian character, indicating that its meaning is evangelical: hence the gifts offered should be a genuine expression of popular piety and free from extravagance, luxury, and waste, all of which are extraneous to the Christian origins of this practice. from Catholic Culture • This is a little craft I tweaked from the Little Saints book
Star of Bethlehem Craft
Cut out a star from yellow construction paper, glue onto paper plate, decorate star with silver and gold star foil stickers and rays of light from the star with silver and gold glitter or glitter sticks. Punch hole on top of paper plate and hang with string or ribbon above nativity set.
• Sing We Three Kings
• Make star shaped sugar cookies or pancakes with one big star to represent the one that led the wise men to our Lord • Because the Magi came form the Orient, many of the traditional foods served on this day are spicy. Spice cake is often baked for dessert, and entrees may include curry powder or other pungent spices. • Make Lamb’s Wool Punch as in England, Twelfth Night was traditionally celebrated with a drink called Lamb's Wool, made of cider or ale, with roasted apples and sugar and spices. This Old English and Irish punch, which dates form the Middle Ages, probably gets its name from the wooly appearance of the flesh of the roasted apples floating in the cider.
Lamb's Wool Punch 6 baking apples, cored 2 tablespoons to 1/2 cup brown sugar 2 quarts sweet cider, or hard cider, or ale ­or a mixture of cider and ale 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger Roast the apples in a baking pan at 450 degrees F. for about an hour, or until they are very soft and begin to burst. (An alternative and quicker procedure is to peel and boil the apples until they are very soft and flaky.) You may leave the apples whole, or break them up. In a large saucepan, dissolve the sugar a few tablespoons at a time in the cider or ale, tasting for sweetness. Add the spices. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes. Pour the liquid over the apples in a large punch bowl, or serve in large heat resistant mugs.
• For other food ideas visit Catholic Cuisine


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