Thursday, January 06, 2011

Dreikönigstag! Theophany! Epiphany!

Dreikönigstag is German for "Three Kings Day!"

Theophany is from the Greek and means "The Appearance of God"

It is Epiphany!  Epiphany is also from Greek and means "appearance" or "manifestation."

Today is the day we celebrate the Magi/Kings visitation to the Baby Jesus (in many Catholic diocese this feast gets moved to a Sunday between January 2nd and 8th).  The Magi came bearing gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.  It can also be argued that the tradition of giving gifts at Christmas started with the Magi/Kings.

Symbolism in the Magi and the Gifts

The Magi, being "from the East," represents the Gentiles, who too would become part of God's Chosen People, as John 12:32 tells us that when He is lifted up He will draw all to Him.  The day we celebrate as the "manifestation of God" is the day the Magi found Him, worshiped and adored Him.  The Gentiles would be among the first to acknowledge Him for who He is.

Gold:  A gift of honor worthy of royalty.  The Magi recognize the royal kingship of Israel's newborn King.

Frankincense: Often used as incense or perfume - it was also used in sacrifices for God to send a sweet smell to God on high.  The Magi recognize the sacrificial nature of this King.

Myrrh:  Myrrh is used for the holy anointing of prophets, but it is also a burial spice representing mortality, suffering and sorrow.


Further Reading:
http://www.chrysaliscafe.com/2007/12/symbolism-of-gifts-of-magi.html
http://www.therealpresence.org/archives/Sacred_Scripture/Sacred_Scripture_004.htm
http://allsaintstaylorsville.blogspot.com/2011/01/gifts-of-magi.html
http://www.suite101.com/content/wise-men-bearing-gifts-a323325

1 comment:

  1. "Myrrh is used for the holy anointing of prophets."

    Didn't know this; may use it in my class.

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