Sunday, January 5, 2014

Epiphany Blessings!

This year in the deep South, the  twelfth day of Christmas will  be accompanied  by a mammoth Winter storm dropping temperatures into the single digits.

There is much preparing. Folks are stocking up on firewood, kerosene, propane, charcoal, matches and sterno. There is concern ice will down power  lines and leave families at risk with no means for warmth.

Even at the Pond we went out to fetch home some essentials.  We were out of winter suet cakes for the wild birds which spend the cold season with us. It will be too cold for most of them but we hope they will find a good place to survive the freeze.  We are trying to help.

 This morning there was a war with bully squirrels trying to oust a mother bird from her good, dry, tree hole. I came  rushing inside to ask Blowfish to help with bb gun, rocks, whatever was at hand to protect the Dove who was crying out for mercy. A Dove. On Epiphany Eve, trying to find a safe place to nest. Blowfish shook his head at my foolish hope to avert the dark side of nature. One nesting bird against a gang of four determined squirrels? Back outside  I yelled, I threw stones, I shook my fist at the squirrels and then I came inside to grab a bag of trail mix to scatter up the driveway in hopes of luring them away from Dove.


All three of our Christmas trees are still up, lights shining morning and night when we are home. We always leave our halls decked and our trees lighted through Epiphany. We are in the minority as most families now put their trees up earlier and take them down sooner.
I find it odd that a Christian calendar is no longer followed in celebrating Christmas.  We saw several discarded trees along the side of the road this morning on our way to fetch suet. I thought, " It's so close, you could have made it!".  Sometimes the rush to pack away and end the Christmas season seems greater than the rush to prepare for the celebration of Christ.


Once, years ago I rode a camel at the zoo in New Orleans. It was not my favorite experience. I certainly would not want to travel by camel over rough terrain for twelve days and nights. As did the three kings. The wise men. Who prepared  to accept a messiah. Bearing gifts they traversed afar.
They followed a star to guide them to His perfect Light. They prepared and pursued.

 On camels!

I have a cookbook my sister gave me long years ago. It follows the Catholic calendar with traditional recipes for various feast days or  celebrations of saints. The recipes hail from around the globe so there is much diversity of taste and tradition which demonstrates the entire world can get on the same page.
With a little effort. No traversing afar by camel required.

In this book "A Continual Feast" it has a bit of history to accompany the recipes. I was surprised to read the celebration of the Feast of Epiphany, begun in the third century, predates the Feast of Christ's Nativity or Christmas Day, begun in the fourth century. In my childhood, everyone I knew celebrated Epiphany. There were many families who distributed one gift to each child for each of the twelve days  of Christmas. Often with the best gift arriving on Epiphany. Just like the Magi arriving with Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh.  Now? Well let's just say our neighbors joke about how we Fishy's are the last family to take down our traditions. 

Are you  familiar with the tradition of a Kings Cake in honor of the Magi on this 12th day of Christmas?   There are many traditions but most of them include the baking of gifts within the cake. Gold or silver coin or trinkets are incorporated into the batter. The person(s) receiving the gifts in their serving may look forward to an especially blessed year. I wonder if the Southern tradition of adding a lucky dime to the black eyed peas on New Year's Day is borrowed from the King's cake tradition?

No matter.

Whatever the traditions of
 Christmas , 
New Year  
you celebrate.

May you be joyful
May you be healthy
May you be prepared
May you celebrate life's many blessings