Wednesday, January 6, 2016

The Twelfth Day of Christmas: Building our own Epiphany traditions

Epiphany has long held a special place in my heart. A dear Belgian family friend would hold a glorious Epiphany tea every January 6.   In my married life, especially as my children get older, Epiphany has become the Christmas of our domestic church.

We are fortunate to have so much of our extended family living within a day's drive and celebrate from Christmas Eve thru New Year's Day with them. Although Epiphany Sunday was celebrated on January 3, my husband and I opted to hold our celebration on the 6th because we got back in town late Saturday night and were exhausted/not prepared/waiting for packages to arrive. 

Last night (January 5, the vigil), we held a procession through the house with censer, candles, and bells, chalking the exterior doors 20+C+M+B+16 on our route.

Most of the Christmas decorations save the Nativity set and the tree have gradually been making their way back to the attic. I found this great image of the Adoration of the Magi in an old calendar and taped on our front door (we do have a storm door, so it's holding up well).

Tonight's celebration will start with Lessons and Carols, assisted by a set of discarded Worship hymnals. I developed this order of service based on this template. Then we will exchange gifts within our nuclear family- three for each of something you want, something you need, and something to read.

I find inspiration for my Epiphany menu in that the Magi came from the East. Some years, we have ordered Chinese take-out, but this year I am trying out slow cooker biryani- an Indian rice pilaf. Friends from the neighborhood will be joining us. I'll round out the meal with a winter vegetable slaw, and cheater's Buche de Noel- a chocolate rehrucken cake with a plastic baby Jesus hidden inside, plus chai and any leftover Christmas chocolates.

Happy Epiphany, from our family to yours!

Image source: Juan Reixach, Adoration of the Magi, 1450-90
Image source: Pieter Brueghel the Younger, Twelfth Night, c.1619

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