Skip to comments.Ready for "Little Christmas"?
Posted on 12/25/2005 6:25:25 PM PST by Catherine A
I am worn out from Christmas already, but am still looking forward to the "Little Christmas" in 11 days. While looking for a recipe for King's Cake, I came across a website that has a huge section on the customs of the liturgical year -- and the pages on Twelfthnight and the Feast of the Epiphany are too beautiful to not post here. On the Twelfthnight page, the information on the Magi and the Star of Bethlehem is especially interesting (who knew about the Orion symbolism?!).
A quote (from the Twelfthnight page) by St. Ephraem on the Star of Bethlehem:
In the Height and the Depth the Son had two heralds. The star of light proclaimed Him from above; John likewise preached Him from beneath: two heralds, the earthly and the heavenly. The star of light, contrary to nature, shone forth of a sudden; less than the sun yet greater than the sun. Less was it than he in manifest light; and greater than he in secret might because of its mystery.
Great links - thank you. And Merry Christmas.
For the first time for me right now, I think ever, I feel that Christmas isn't coming to a complete "halt" as it has in the past.
I think a concentrated focus (for me) on the purpose of Christmas made the difference.
I am looking forward to celebrating "little Christmas" in the coming days, with my fellow Christians.
Thanks again for posting this. And may you continue to have a very Blessed Christmas!
The Feast of the Epiphany falls on Friday, January 6. It has always been traditional in our home to keep the tree lit until the arrival of the Magi. The Nativity will remain in place until February 2, Feast of The Presentation.
I was most surprised this evening to survey the neighborhood and see many homes have already turned off their outdoor lights. While Christmas signals a beginning for us as christians, these neighbors consider it the end. By tomorrow, there will already be several discarded Christmas trees out by the street.
Has anyone else experienced this phenomenon in their neighborhoods as well?
Welcome to FRee Republicc!
Thanks for the link. The story of the Magi is so intriguing. They came from Iran, and the notion of following a star to a promised Saviour has echoes of Zoroastrian stories.
It is believed that one of those 3 guys was from Persia
It is said that the three gifts they brought were symbolic:
The gold for kingship, the frankinsence for devotion, and myrhh for tears.
Thanks for the welcome!
Welcome to Free Republic.
Enjoyed the web site very much.
I agree... many people have no concept of Advent, or the Christmas season. In a secular world they have lost this perspective.
Yes, and it is bemoaned every year. My parents' tree is always the last one up and the last one down.
I understand some HOA (neighborhood associations) require it. Very sad.
Sure, the blow up Santa, reindeer, and snowman will come down this weekend...but the lights are staying up at least until Epiphany!
When I was a kid we put the tree up on Christmas Eve and took it down on the Epiphany. We put a Creche out that consisted of the stable and animals but no Holy Family until Christmas. The 3 Kings started in the living room and slowly made their way from table top to kitchen counter to table top until they were added to the scene on the Epiphany.
I thought at least one of the spices was a 'burial' spice, to herald His future.
That Twelfthnight page talks about that, Thinkingman:
Gold, frankincense, and myrrh were brought by the magi (add some drops of frankincense and myrrh fragrance oils to your Christ Candle tonight!), and the Fathers see in their gifts omens of Christ's life:
* the gold as a sign of His Kingship. The gifts of gold and frankincense were both prophesied by Isaias in the sixth chapter of his book.
* the frankincense -- a gum resin (i.e., dried tree sap) from the Boswellia tree, native to Somalia and southern coastal Arabia -- as a sign of His Deity and. Mixed with stacte, and onycha, and sweet galbanum, it was used by Moses to set before the tabernacle as an offering to God, and was considered so "holy to the Lord" that it was forbidden to use profanely (see Numbers 30).
* the myrrh -- a brownish gum resin from the Commiphora abyssinica tree, native to eastern Africa and Arabia, and used in embalming -- as a sign of His death. Myrrh, along with cinnamon and cassius, was used by Moses to "anoint the tabernacle of the testimony, and the ark of the testament" (Numbers 30). It has analgesic properties, too, and was offered, mixed with wine, to Christ on the Cross, which He refused (Mark 15:23). Nicodemus brought myrrh to annoint Our Lord's Body after death (John 19:39).
The Golden Legend, written in A.D. 1275 by Jacobus de Voragine, Archbishop of Genoa, describes the gifts thus:
...by these three be signified three things that be in Jesu Christ: The precious Deity, the soul full of holiness, and the entire Flesh all pure and without corruption. And these three things be signified that were in the ark of Moses. The rod which flourished, that was the Flesh of Jesu Christ that rose from death to life; the tables wherein the commandments were written, that is the soul, wherein be all the treasures of sapience and science of Godhead. The manna signifieth the Godhead, which hath all sweetness of suavity. By the gold which is most precious of all metals is understood the Deity; by the incense the soul right devout, for the incense signifieth devotion and orison; by the myrrh which preserveth from corruption, is understood the Flesh which was without corruption.
Thanks for your post and welcome to FR! What a lot of great info. Bump for later print-out.
A Blessed Christmastide to you and yours!
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