Epiphany of the Lord

epiphanyWhen Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea,
in the days of King Herod,
behold, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying,
“Where is the newborn king of the Jews?
We saw his star at its rising
and have come to do him homage.”
When King Herod heard this,
he was greatly troubled,
and all Jerusalem with him.
Assembling all the chief priests and the scribes of the people,
He inquired of them where the Christ was to be born.
They said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea,
for thus it has been written through the prophet:
And you, Bethlehem, land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
since from you shall come a ruler,
who is to shepherd my people Israel.”

Then Herod called the magi secretly
and ascertained from them the time of the star’s appearance.
He sent them to Bethlehem and said,
“Go and search diligently for the child.
When you have found him, bring me word,
that I too may go and do him homage.”
After their audience with the king they set out.
And behold, the star that they had seen at its rising preceded them,
until it came and stopped over the place where the child was.
They were overjoyed at seeing the star,
and on entering the house
they saw the child with Mary his mother.
They prostrated themselves and did him homage.
Then they opened their treasures
and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod,
they departed for their country by another way.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Ritual and Tradition ~

In many Eastern European households, following Mass, the Epiphany is a night to host a special meal, complete with a “King Cake” and exchange small gifts, commemorating the gifts that the Three Wisemen ~ Caspar, Melchoir and Balthasar ~ brought to the infant Jesus.  For this reason, unlike the more colorful Mardi Gras celebration, the colors of the Epiphany are white and gold.   Children are given “crackers”, decorated colored cardboard tubes filled with a tissue paper crown and small toy or treat, that have a small firecracker that makes a sound when the tube is tugged open.  The children wear their “King Crowns” during the meal.

Some more traditional households will also chalk the letters C, B, M which has a dual symbology – first, to symbolize the first letters of the names of the three Magi, as well as for a request for a blessing – Christus mansionem benedicat, which translates as “may Christ bless the house”-  over the lintel of the door to the home.  The initials are written in between the year.  Eg: 20C+B+M13

K † M † B † 2009 written on a door of rectory in Lstiboř village, Czech Republic to bless the house by Christ   (source: Wikipedia)

For Greek Orthodox communities, the Epiphany is one of the days of the “blessings of the water”.  A procession, led by the priest holding a large crucifix, will take place down to the water’s edge, and the priest will bless the water and throw the crucifix into the water, to be retrieved by a parishioner and returned for a special blessing.  Water from the Epiphany Day blessing is then used to bless and consecrate the homes of the faithful.

Recipe for King Cake:  (also served at Mardi Gras in the Cajun south)

(not really a “Cake” but more like a filled sweet bread)

Ingredients

  • 1 package (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup warm water (110° to 115°)
  • 1/2 cup warm milk (110° to 115°)
  • 1/3 cup shortening
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 4 to 4-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cans (12-1/2 ounces each) prepared almond cake and pastry filling  (“Solo” is a popular brand)

GLAZE:

  • 3 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons water

Directions

  • In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add the milk, shortening, sugar, salt, egg and 2 cups flour. Beat on medium speed for 3 minutes. Beat until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough (dough will be sticky).
  •    Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
  •    Punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; divide in half. Roll one portion into a 16-in. x 10-in. rectangle. Spread almond filling to within 1/2 in. of edges. Roll up jelly-roll style, starting with a long side; pinch seam to seal. Place seam side down on a greased baking sheet; pinch ends together to form a ring. Repeat with remaining dough and filling. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour.
  •    Bake at 375° for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.
  •   Before icing with the glaze, if desired, make a slit and hide an almond or other surprise to represent the “King”.  Whoever finds the almond in their slice is destined to have good luck for the year.
  • For glaze, combine the confectioners’ sugar, vanilla and enough water to achieve desired consistency. Spread over cooled cakes.
  • Yield: 2 cakes
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60 Responses to Epiphany of the Lord

  1. Menagerie,
    Thank you for this post. Timeless story; always with import for our lives today.

    It always amazes me that the Wise Men were warned, in a dream, to return to their homes another way. God does indeed guide us if we listen to Him!

    God bless

    Liked by 31 people

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      And they were wise to obey the message in the dream rather than Herod’s order!

      Liked by 6 people

    • X's child says:

      In our house the Wise Men appeared on the Epiphany Jan 6. All Christmas and mangers
      were removed from our house to welcome the Kings. They came to recognize the Christ child. They brought gifts of wealth from their countries for the child. In less than fifty years no one remembers the lessons of the bible or the great music written and performed to honor of this day in time. I remember because it was taught to me and mine.
      Today all that come behind us say it is myths, fantasy and wrong thought. If I had not held to my beliefs I would not be alive today. So sorry for mankind. Hope you all understand this message.

      Liked by 1 person

      • X's child says:

        And on January 7th I was born to the great delight of my father. He instilled in me a belief
        system that cannot be shaken Welcome to a brand New Year and the beginning of the season of Epiphany. Love the treepers, been hanging on a branch for many a year. Thankful old ones and new ones are here. Hello SD.

        Like

      • Carrie2 says:

        X’s child, we always celebrated it. Since in my medicine these are great herbs: frankincense, and myrrh, I took some of each so they could be shown/seen by parishioners as at that time I was a teacher in the RICA. Beats just smelling incense when you can see and hold these gifts. Also a day when we too take down Christmas tree and other Christmas stuff, and always the Nativity scene is the last to be boxed safely for next year. I also like to do as hispanics due and that is put candles in front of the door and light them on Christmas Eve to show how to lead then to our Lord. My husband, who is from Germany, always make the German Christ bread/cake for the season and he makes a lot because delicious and so many want some, so he makes around 20 loaves. Is the real thing and not the stuff sold in bakeries or supermarkets here. Thank you for this recipe for me to try. This is our special season and the reason!

        Like

  2. donna kovacevic says:

    Thank you for this post as it has a special meaning for me and very appropriate, today being Orthodox Christmas Eve day. It is a very big and important day that we celebrate at the church first the oak tree is decorated by the children with walnuts, oranges and paper. A lenten supper at the church hall followed by mass at midnight. The next day being Christmas starts with church service followed by a large lunch at home with the family. Many people put hey on the floor in the kitchen a symbol of where Christ was born.

    Liked by 14 people

  3. Blind no longer says:

    Praise the King of Kings and Lord of All!!!

    Liked by 14 people

  4. The Huntster says:

    Thanks for an absolutely beautiful post about our Christian tradition and history! BTW, it’s kinda’ funny that the King Cake recipe is immediately followed by an ad about fat and carbs, complete with a pic of my aging Cajun belly……….

    Liked by 2 people

    • X's child says:

      In our house the Wise Men appeared on the Epiphany Jan 6. All Christmas and mangers
      were removed from our house to welcome the Kings. They came to recognize the Christ child. They brought gifts of wealth from their countries for the child. In less than fifty years no one remembers the lessons of the bible or the great music written and performed to honor of this day in time. I remember because it was taught to me and mine.
      Today all that come behind us say it is myths, fantasy and wrong thought. If I had not held to my beliefs I would not be alive today. So sorry for mankind. Hope you all understand this message.

      Liked by 1 person

      • The Huntster says:

        I understand your lament. In my family’s religious tradition, Christmas began on Christmas Eve, then the Twelve Days of Christmas began the day after Christmas and lasted through the Epiphany. The Christmas tree was erected on Christmas Eve (or as close beforehand as possible as our work/slave schedules allowed), and it was taken down after the Epiphany. The world’s Christmas season (commercial holiday season) is growing each year. In the recent past it begins with a commercial orgy on “Black Friday”, capitalizing on as long a commercial hustle as possible without running all over Thanksgiving, which was established as a holiday of thanks to God. This year I saw gawdy Christmas advertisements and billboards in a California shopping mall before Halloween, which is a celebration of evil the day before All Saints Day. It looks bleak out there………

        Liked by 2 people

        • Carrie2 says:

          The Hunster, yes, money, money! As a Roman Catholic you have stated what we do, but I like the centinelas (sentries) with candles of color inside the containers. I leaned this many years ago in Mexico and later in New Mexico as were placed on top of walls and wonderful to see. Don’t have walls, so on front of porch.

          Like

  5. I LOVE the spirituality of the Tree House and how freely everyone shares their religious views and experiences without free of reprisal. Just one more thing that makes this place so special.

    Liked by 18 people

  6. notunderwhelmed says:

    Epiphany — the glory and power of spirit. I have certainly experienced epiphany in my life. Real truth to real power…..God. 🌠

    Liked by 5 people

    • angellestaria6674 says:

      There’s nothing like experiencing a spiritual epiphany in the face of being stuck in some dark aspect of life’s thinking that one just can’t seem to get past in their own strength.

      Then comes along the power of the Holy Spirit of God and as Paul prayed for the saints, enlightens the eyes of a person’s heart.

      It is a marvelous wonder, this great work of God Whose mercy is ever extended to many all the time 24/7 because God never sleeps.

      Peace friend!

      Like

    • The Phantom Stranger says:

      Amen

      Like

  7. evadouglas says:

    This is also a tradition in heavily Catholic Bavaria. The Three Kings (usually young children) will go door to door and, in return for a treat, will write their initials in chalk above your front door.

    Liked by 7 people

    • Carrie2 says:

      evdouglas, will have to ask my brother-in-law whose sister-in-law works in Bavaria and see if she does this. A neat way for children to learn more about the birth of our Lord.

      Like

  8. Elle says:

    I LOVE hearing and reading that story. My father read it every Christmas. This sounds like a fun family tradition! Double the fun for the Christmas Story!! I’m going to call the slice with the baby in it an extra helping of good luck.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Mariposa323 says:

      Amén ! Prayers for all the Treepers and their families from here in Bethlehem , where these events took place . There is a cold and foggy mist covering the town just now . The Patriarch has arrived and Christians from all over the Middle East and beyond are coming to celebrate the Orthodox Christmas . There is the smell of incense and warm bread . Christ is among us . The world yet can hope . Never forget we are the people of Hope as we persevere in Faith and Love , because He is the Truth . Listen to Him .

      Liked by 9 people

      • Black Irish Rose says:

        Thank you, Mariposa, for your post from Bethlehem. I don’t know if you meant to, but your last words, “Listen to Him,” was the very command Our Lady gave to servants at the wedding in Cana where Christ performed his first recorded public miracle. Listen. To. Him. How very difficult it can be to hear Him above the noise of this world, which seems to grow louder every day. But listen we must, for He did not and does not get into a shouting match with the voices of this world. God bless all Treepers, POTUS and his family and cabinet on this Epiphany. May we always hear His voice above the media, Hollywood, those suffering from Trump Derangement Syndrome, etc.

        Liked by 3 people

  9. Thank you for sharing this. I didn’t know about the writing over the threshold of the doors. Very interesting. All lost in the era of commercialization.

    Liked by 3 people

  10. Dora says:

    Liked by 3 people

  11. Patrick healy says:

    Yes great articles recalling The Epiphany.
    Every Christian country have had their own traditions.
    In the days when Ireland was a Christian country it was called The Twelfth Night. Thus the twelve days of Christmas ended and all decorations had to be taken down else that house would have bad luck.
    Another custom was to light 12 miniature candles (usually different coloured ones) with the names of all the householders on them. In those days it was usual to have such large families that 12 candles could be insufficient.
    One of the most ghoulish aspect of this custom was the story that whose ever candle burned out first was the first person to die! – Morbid.
    Then the most important aspect of the feast day was its Irish name Nollaig na Mban or women’s Christmas.
    This was their day of rest after their exertions looking after the household for 12 days. They were supposed to be waited on and indulged by the menfolk. Then they went out to the local hosterly for ‘refreshments’ with all their female companions. It was not unusual to see pubs completely taken over by the ladies on this night.
    That was the Ireland of my youth.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Carrie2 says:

      Beautiful. I did forget to mention that in Germany they can hire singers with candles to come to their homes on Christmas Eve and that was lovely to experience for me.

      Like

  12. ForGodandCountry says:

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Mariposa323 says:

    I signed it . She gives a bad name to the good people of the West Bank , especially Palestinian Christians here in Bethlehem .

    Liked by 3 people

  14. Also, Happy 607th Birthday to Joan d’Arc, born January 6, 1412
    “I die for speaking the language of angels.”

    Liked by 2 people

  15. Jason Ross says:

    Three Kings Day and Christmas Eve for the Eastern branches.
    Huge holiday for 2 billion citizens of the earth.
    Check out the amazing Google doodle
    https://www.google.com/

    Liked by 1 person

  16. MamaTried says:

    My precious mother-in-law was placed in hospice last night. After drying my tears I read today’s devotion – not realizing it was Epiphany. Very comforting:

    January 6

    THE BRIGHT AND MORNING STAR

    “I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things in the churches. I am… the Bright and Morning Star” (Rev. 22:16, NKJV).

    The final message of the book of Revelation vividly describes the splendor and wonders of the new world of harmony that will emerge when Christ makes all things new. In this impressive setting, Jesus assures His people that He is the “Bright and Morning Star” of the new Edenic world order. This assurance is especially pertinent since the morning star always shines brightest in the darkness that immediately precedes the dawn.

    The morning star is the celestial herald of the dawn of a new day. It awakens thoughts of hope, great expectation, and the joy of a new beginning. The morning star dispels the darkness of night and announces the majesty of daybreak. There is something hope-inspiring about the morning star after a long -night of waiting.

    In the fullness of time (see Galatians 4:4), Christ came as the long-awaited Messiah and Saviour of the world.’ Appropriately, His birth place in Bethlehem was identified by a guiding star. His first advent was the joyous fulfillment of the long-awaited messianic prediction of the “Bright and Morning Star.” His coming brought salvation to all who believe and receive Him as Lord.

    As we await the dawn of God’s blessed tomorrow, may these reassuring words inspire us: “He [Christ], is the bright and morning star, shining amid the moral darkness of this sinful, corrupt world. He is the light of the world, and all who give their hearts to Him will find peace, rest, and joy.”–Mind, Character, and Personality, vol. 2, p. 804.

    MY PRAYER TODAY: Lord, may the, “Bright and Morning Star” bring me hope for tomorrow. Amen!

    Liked by 5 people

  17. Sol Benedict says:

    Here is a toast to Conservative thinking and values. As a Christian writer said recently (in my own words): “Do not respond in anger to the enemies of Truth, but in humility stand, for we can do no other.” I realize, however, that there is a place for righteous anger. God help us to exercise in the right kind. It is a spiritual battle, and the spiritual weapons at our disposal are the most powerful. Let us not falter in our conflict with the demons of the Radical Left.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Bendix says:

    Even the churches tend to run right over this important day in the Christmas season.
    That is one part of the culture of our citizens of Dominican and Puerto Rican extraction that I welcome, because they give this day its due.

    Like

  19. Curt says:

    Thank you for this post. Great reading and educational for many of us. I’ll keep that receipt as it looks very good and not too difficult.

    Like

  20. Sepp says:

    If anyone might be interested, there is a post on the Open Thread with two links on the subject of Old Christmas in American history.

    Like

  21. Dobegirl says:

    I signed it (it already has 45,000 signatures in 3 days).
    I also sent it out in an e-mail to all of my contacts, including the pictures.
    Her behavior is despicable.

    /Users/Sharon/Library/Containers/com.apple.mail/Data/Library/Mail Downloads/4D6B5CC6-DA6D-4F76-9DB2-65B643DFDDCC/49716165_10162315449065354_7076671863904010240_n.jpg

    /Users/Sharon/Library/Containers/com.apple.mail/Data/Library/Mail Downloads/CBBBEAC0-1D98-45E2-99FE-8548BC945546/Dv_reOVXcAAtQNH.jpg

    Like

    • Dobegirl says:

      Sorry, the pictures didn’t come through, trying again.

      /var/folders/c0/nw9pv_yj44q6b_v_1vb2m1j80000gn/T/com.apple.mail/com.apple.mail.drag-T0x6000000794c0.tmp.cIOMB7/49716165_10162315449065354_7076671863904010240_n.jpg

      Like

  22. Dora says:

    Like

  23. pacnwbel says:

    There is another kind of Epiphany cake which is a fruitier recipe and contains up to ten small symbols which impose Christian faith based tasks on the receivers , one being reserved to be the provider of next year’s Epiphany cake. This works best in a sheet cake where the symbols can be fairly equally distributed.

    Like

  24. tonyE says:

    We didn’t have a “Rosca de los Reyes” this year… but my kids and some family flew/drove for the long weekend, stayed with us and celebrated my Big One. Like the first one that starts with a “6”….. wow.

    Anyhow, I love El Dia de los Reyes.

    My precious.

    And we had a fantastic weekend, starting with Friday and even tonight, on a more intimate subset as some had to fly back home today. I think I’ve had three cakes so far…

    Gotta say, my wife really outdid herself, keeping it all so secret from me. What will I do when her day comes?

    I really will need some kind of an epiphany before then.

    Happy Epiphany to you all.

    Like

  25. Thank you so much for this post!

    Like

  26. Carrie2 says:

    Trump Fan, and the same to you and hopefully you are having real Christollen too!

    Like

  27. BigMamaTEA says:

    Menag…How did you know I need this thread?? Luv ya darlin’!

    Liked by 1 person

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