Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The Epiphany

"Said the night wind to the little lamb, do you see what I see? Way up in the sky, little lamb. Do you see what I see? A star, a star, dancing in the night with a tail as big as a kite, with a tale as big as a kite."
(Noel Regney)

I fell asleep to those words each Christmas season when my father would play the annual Firestone Presents Your Christmas Favorites album for me and my older brother. Dad would put the record player in the hallway between our bedrooms and we'd listen intently always hoping to hear each song. But, never fail, we'd be asleep before it finished.
"Do You Hear What I Hear?" was my introduction to the Magi or the Three Wisemen.
It made the Epiphany (January 6) a most magical time for me. The Magi, named Gaspar, Melchior, and Balthasar, followed the Star of Bethlehem to the newborn Christ. Some say they were Persian Kings or astrologers who brought gold, frankincense, and myrrh as gifts.
Christmas was always the day we opened presents. But, in my mother's family, as a child, she received special fruit candies on the Epiphany from her grandfather who was born in Italy. They also heard stories about Befana, an old Italian lady, who would bring treats to the children on January 5 in the tradition of Santa Claus.
The Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, "Where is the King of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him." (Matthew 2:2-3)

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