A close friend of mine asked what Little Christmas is. I answered that it’s called the “Epiphany,” and celebrated on the sixth of January when the three wisemen followed the star to Bethlehem in search of baby Jesus to worship and present him with gifts. She then asked why the wisemen followed the star and presented offerings to Jesus. I had no answer. I need an answer for my friend, or I’ll seem dense. I wouldn’t expect her to know being of Hindi religion, just like I don’t know anything about her religion, which makes me want to research it now. Getting back to the point–
Having been born and raised Catholic, and receiving all my sacraments, I should know the answer; unfortunately, if I learned this in religious studies, I do not remember. Not to mention, I haven’t been to church in many years. I’ve decided praying in the comfort of my own home makes me feel much better than attending church with people holding hands and wondering if they’re sick. A little phobia of mine.
To pique my interest, I decided to ask family members who I’d been sure would know the answer. First, I went to my husband. Okay, he went to Catholic school, so of course he’d know all about this.
Quote: “It’s the sixth of January when the three wisemen or kings followed the star to Bethlehem and gave Jesus Gold, Myrrh and something else. I think their names were Gaspar, Balthasar and I can’t remember the other guy. They gave Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh. We also take down our Christmas decorations on the sixth, if we want to wait until then, or else before.”
Well, we don’t always get what we wish for. I have to give him an “E,” for effort. On the whole, not quite the answer I was looking for.
Next up, another family member. This person asked not to have their name or gender revealed.
Quote: “I don’t know. I think it’s when the wisemen followed a star to find Jesus and we keep our Christmas decorations up until the sixth.”
Less information than my husband.
Having gotten nowhere with asking my family, I decided to research it on the internet. I became more confused than ever. There are so many different theories and stories, one religion believes one thing and the other believes something else. I decided to go with the one that is closest to the Catholic religion and makes the most sense to me. This is what I found and I’m hoping I relay it properly–
The “Epiphany,” or “The Feast of the Three Kings,” is celebrated twelve-days after Christmas on the sixth of January. The wisemen, Gaspar, Melchior and Balthasar (still not sure if these were their actual names, it’s not written in stone,) saw an unusual star in the sky and knew it told of a new birth. King Herod told the wisemen to report back to him when they found the baby so he could worship him but felt threatened and wanted his location to have him killed. The wisemen had a dream that the baby was the savior and so they did not report his whereabouts, but instead worshiped him with gold, which represented king of the Jews, frankincense, which meant worship and myrrh which represented Jesus’ suffering and death.
This article isn’t meant to give a religious history lesson. I wanted a clear-cut answer and whether this is correct, (let’s keep in mind this happened long before my birth,) I’ll never know. At least I have an answer I feel comfortable to relay. The “Epiphany,” isn’t just another holiday to feast on a meal with my family, the delicious homemade lasagna with dripping hot cheese, or stretch out Christmas another week with an excuse to leave the house decorated with my red, plump Santa doll and gleaming gold glass ornaments, it has brought me closer to Christ. I feel his presence around me, and it gives me a sense of comfort. I’m praying more thanking the Lord for all he’s given me, something I’ve taken for granted in the past. From here on, I will not forget why I celebrate the “Epiphany.”
As I reflect back on the past year and my religious ignorance, my resolution is to keep an open mind. One thing I’ve learned from this, is it doesn’t matter whether the answers are in fact accurate, it’s what the individual or individuals believe to be true. I believe.
Happy New Year.
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