Tomorrow January 6th is Three Kings Day or The Epiphany. It will be celebrated on Sunday January 7th at mass. The Epiphany is a day or time of celebration for many Christian religions because it is the time that Jesus was showed to the world.
Wise men, shepherds, and others saw the star in the skies and came from faraway lands to worship the baby Jesus. It took many days of travel for them to arrive at Jesus’ birthplace because it was done by riding donkeys, camels, or walking.
On the day Jesus was born, not many knew of this glorious event. Several wise men had been sent by King Herod to find the newborn baby Jesus. The wise men “Who having heard the king, went their way; and behold the star which they had seen in the east, went before them until it came and stood over where the child was. And seeing the star they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. And entering into the house, they found the child with Mary his mother, and falling down they adored him; and opening their treasures, they offered him gifts; gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.” (St. Matthew 2:9-12)
The gold offered by one of the wise men is a symbolic acknowledgment of Jesus’ royal standing as “King of the Jews,” while the frankincense manifests the divine nature of the baby’s existence, since he is not an earthly king but the Son of God. And finally, the myrrh, often used to embalm corpses, was gifted to the newborn as a symbol of Jesus’ mortality foreshadowing his death as a means to cleanse humanity of its sins. I don’t remember learning the meaning behind the giving of these gifts.
In some religions and some countries, Epiphany is a day of celebration and is held on January 6th which is the twelfth day after Christmas. The focus is on the actual mission of Jesus’ arrival on earth which is one of peace and salvation for all people. Jesus offered salvation to all on earth. It was and still is up to each individual to choose the direction for his or her own life. In the end, each will be held accountable for his or her choice.
Since the Epiphany is not a public holiday in other parts of the United States, many Christians take part in Epiphany activities such as:
- Star processionals on the Sunday closest to January 6 for church services
- Parties or get-togethers to clean up homes after the festive season and put away Christmas decorations.
- Treasure hunts to find a figure of the Christ child.
- Epiphany luncheons, parties and celebrations among churchgoers.
- And Sunday school activities for children that focus on Epiphany, such as creating the star that led the wise men to Bethlehem.
In some religions and some countries, the twelve-day period from the birth of Jesus to His revelation is considered a time for the celebration called the Epiphany. The period lasts from the birth of Jesus on December 25th through the day Jesus was revealed on January 6th. The entire period is a time for celebration in various ways. I hope you found this interesting, I know I learned some things I never knew before. Have a blessed Three Kings Day.