January 6th is the Feast of the Epiphany AND our sweet niece's FIRST birthday!!!
This morning listening to XM 78-classical (honey, I need something soothing and quiet) I was reminded that today is known as the Feast of Epiphany, marking the Twelfth Night of Christmas. Also known as the day the 3 Kings reached the baby Jesus. As I listened to the radio I was struck by the music playing--Bach's Christmas Oratorio, #6. I was drawn in by its harmony, lively and joyful. Seriously. I got even more excited when the announcer said that Bach's contata was part of a series of six contatas-written and presented in 1734--to celebrarte the Twelve Days of Christmas. In the mind of the church in BAch's time the Twelve Days of Christmas began December 25th and ended January 6. In fact, Bach was the cantor (chief musician) for two churches (St. Nicholas being one) in Germany. He was in charge of music for the worship services of these two churches and the contatas were born. What a babe Bach was! Bach's German congregations were joyfully celebrating the Light of the World we worship today.
As a person who likes history, I find solace in learning about traditions--especially those associated with the church. Living and worshipping today in 2010 we forget that people of Faith have been celebrating and paying homage to the birth of the Messiah for centuries. Are we talking and teaching our children about the origin of traditions and customs that exist today. Do children know that Santa Claus is derived from St. Nicholas, who was a real person that provided food and help to the needy? Not all denominations talk about the Feast of the Epiphany (I was totally unfamiliar until adulthood) but from a historical perspective I think knowing and learning about centuries-old customs helps us prepare our hearts today. Epiphany actually means "manifestation." During Epiphany we joyfully celebrate Christ as the Light of the World, just as Bach's German congregations did in 1734. In my mind, I see our family in the pew at a German cathedral in 1734--I have a big hat on and Buford T. looks a little like an Amish person. The church is dimly lit, by candlelight, and our children are wriggling in the pew. Let's take a page from history and celebrate the Light of the World on the Feast Day of Epiphany!
AND SEND HUG & KISSES to OUR SWEET BEAUTIFUL NIECE on her BIRTHDAY!
WE LOVE YOU Epiphany Baby!!