2019-01-09 - Epiphany
Two aspects of the Christmas season stood out to me this year. One was more introspection during Advent (the period beginning four Sundays before Christmas and observed by some Christians as a season of prayer and fasting, from Merrriam-Webster Advent and the other was Epiphany (capitalized : January 6 observed as a church festival in commemoration of the coming of the Magi as the first manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles or in the Eastern Church in commemoration of the baptism of Christ, from Merriam-Webster Epiphany). With advent, a newer thought introduced was it being a preparation for Jesus to come into the house, literally and metaphorically/spiritually, creating a different approach to decorations and cuisine. Perhaps the most important manner of getting our houses in order is our groundwork for reception. Regarding Epiphany, it has been quite interesting to learn of different denominational traditions, as well as cultural one
Feeling stuck for something that specifically stood out to me, I began watching one of my favorite things to watch when I want to relax, The Great British Bake Show. It was then that, upon second viewing of an episode, that I had an epiphany (n. an illuminating discovery, realization, or disclosure). In the third or show-stopper round of the show ,one of the contestants was doing something called a Rosca de Reyes1, a Spanish ornately decorated wreath-shaped bread to celebrate Epiphany night (January 6). It is normally done as a dessert, although in this case, the contestant did a savory dish. It was interesting to note the competitor, Luis, sharing the tradition from his culture2, the celebrating of the Magi and coming of the Lord. Another keen detail was how he added saffron, which is defined by Merriam-Webster as "the deep orange aromatic pungent dried stigmas of a purple-flowered crocus (Crocu sativus) used to color and flavor foods and formerly as a dyestuff and in medicine," and some gold-leaf decoration to signify the royalty, with the arrival of a king, as well as the Magi sharing gifts. He brought a piece of his heritage to the forefront of a friendly competitive stage, and then in turn, to anyone who may watch the show broadcasting in Great Britain, the United States and Canada.
What a wonderful way to share the King coming to be with us in such a personal manner, through his love of baking. And that is how God wants to use our individual gifts to bring himself to others. It is such a natural transition of combining a shared love of a talent with the receiver’s curiosity of the presenter’s motivation. This suggests the lower-case definition of epiphany: n. an illuminating discovery, realization, or disclosure. Have you discovered the best way for sharing the love of Jesus through your own gifts and talents? With the love of baking, Luis gave a snippet of what matters to him and disclosing it, so perhaps someone might start a conversation with him or dig deeper into learning more. Sharing our best efforts, and giving God the glory, is all we are asked to do, when we are his children. What an Epiphany / epiphany it was this year.
”Now, when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him. When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born. And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judea: for thus it is written by the prophet, And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel. Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, enquired of them diligently what time the star appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also. When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense and myrrh. And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way.(Matthew 2:1-12 KJV)
Rosca de Reyes for Three Kings Day
Rosca de Reyes
The effigy of the baby Jesus, hidden inside the cake, represents another aspect of the holiday. The reason Jesus is 'hidden' inside the bread is to symbolize how in life, the Christ child's birth location also needed to remain secret, in order that his life be spared. The ruler of Jerusalem at the time, King Herod, had been appraised of the mystical signs that indicated the new and rightful King of Jerusalem was soon to be born. Herod's reaction to these predictions was swift and horrible. He ordered his minions to murder all male infants recently born in Bethlehem. However, as destiny would have it, Mary and Joseph found their lodgings in a manger, not an inn. Herod's henchmen didn't think to look for an infant in such a location.
All scripture references from KJV (King James Version) unless otherwise noted