Epiphany blues

Epiphany blues…

…may not be a medically diagnosable condition, but it is something I suffer from every year – maybe you do too?  The problem does not lie with Epiphany itself, which is a wonderful Festival; celebrating not just the arrival of the magi (whenever that was) but rather the shining out of the light of God in Christ.  The story in Matthew (2:1-12) of the star and its followers (however many of them there were) transforms the Incarnation from something which happened within the Jewish religion into a global – even cosmic – event.  From Peter Cornelius’ wonderful setting of “Three Kings from Persian Lands afar” to “The Camel Shuffle” (Singing the Faith 230), the music which accompanies today’s festivities is also evocative, mystical and exciting… so why the blues?

The problem is that Epiphany falls immediately after the Twelfth Night and is therefore the day I usually spend taking down the fairy lights and other decorations which I have so enjoyed over the previous weeks.  This year, with a big house, the task has taken all day… perhaps I did go a bit over the top!  So, everywhere now looks very clean and tidy, but a little bare…

Epiphany…just a few remnants have survived, however.  Following the Continental European practice of keeping a crib scene out until Candlemas (on 2nd February) I have reconfigured an Epiphany scenario and also left up one set of lights (with the firm promise that I will only switch them on on feast days – but I think there are quite a lot of those if you look hard enough!)

On this date last year, I wasn’t taking down decorations; that had been done already, as, instead, I was setting out on pilgrimage with my sister, Catherine, and niece, Hannah.  The three of us met in Durham on 5th January (which would have been Dad’s 90th birthday) and on the feast of Epiphany we set off together to journey to Lindisfarne.  20150107_100923Three wise women(?) making our pilgrimage together by train, bus and foot.  It was a wonderful few days (thankfully with considerably better weather than the North-East of England are having this week).  On the eve of Epiphany we went to Evensong at Durham Cathedral.  There we were privileged to hear a brief reflection from the now-retired Dean, the Very Reverend Michael Sadgrove – a wise man indeed.  His opening words have stayed with me ever since; “Epiphany is not the end of Christmas, but the enlarging of it…”  So perhaps there is no need for the blues after all.  Jill



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