This is an edited repost from last year’s post about Twelfth Night.
The feast of the Epiphany is a beautiful feast day full of Christian meaning. In the States we will celebrate it this coming Sunday, but traditionally it’s always celebrated on January 6th. In Hispanic countries we refer to it as El dia de los reyes or Three King’s Day. The Three Kings (representative of all nations, all humanity) arrived to prostrate themselves before the Savior.
Epiphany means the manifestation of God to the world, and we commemorate it in three events.
- The feast of the Three Kings, (also known as Epiphany): the Word was made flesh for all humanity.
- Baptism of Our Lord: the voice and the Spirit in the form of a dove. (This feast concludes the Christmas season).
- The wedding feast at Cana: the first miracle of the water turned to wine. (How beautiful that it was at a wedding!)
It’s beautiful to see the closeness of our Lord with us. This closeness is like the one found in the marriage between a man and a woman. It is the closest human relationship possible, because it is one of mutual giving and self-surrender in complete love and trust. The relationship between the Church and its members is the same. The three manifestations help us realize it’s the same close relationship God wants to have with each soul. And this cannot happen without the Church.
Christ is the bridegroom, and the Church, his bride. As Catholics, we belong to the Church, and that bond between the Church and Christ is a bond of sanctity and grace through the Sacraments. Christ wants to be united with each one of our souls, therefore a relationship should always be developing in us with Him.
The gifts of the Three Kings have the symbolic meaning of mankind’s gifts to God.
Born a King on Bethlehem’s plain
Gold I bring to crown Him again
King forever, ceasing never
Over us all to reign
Gold: Jesus is King, so they offer a valuable gift. Gold is symbolic of love. We offer God the greatest gift we can: devoted love.
Frankincense to offer have I
Incense owns a Deity nigh
Prayer and praising, all men raising
Worship Him, God most high
Frankincense: Incense has been used from antiquity. It represents the sweet smell of worship of God. Unfortunately the use of incense is at the lowest in Roman Catholic history. It is symbolic of prayer and devotion. As the smoke rises up, we need to be conscious of our prayer and devotion rising to Heaven.
Myrrh is mine, its bitter perfume
Breathes of life of gathering gloom
Sorrowing, sighing, bleeding, dying
Sealed in the stone-cold tomb
Myrrh: In ancient days, it was used to anoint the body after death. It is the recognition on the part of the Magi that the child, while God, was also man, and that He, too, would one day die. Spiritually, myrrh is symbolic of conformity to His will because it entails a sacrifice on our behalf.
I just love Christmas songs that are full of Christian meaning like We Three Kings.
It’s still Christmas everyone! Up until the feast of the Baptism of Our Lord coming up on Monday! So keep the tree and decorations up! Reflect in the symbols of the season still! We’re burning our homemade beeswax candles in front of our manger that since Christmas now includes the baby Jesus, the angel, and now the three kings along with their camels! More on homemade beeswax candles soon! Happy feast day!