Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Epiphanies of Long Ago

No, nothing to do with mysterious magi arriving, sand weary, on ships of the desert, but with my own personal memories of this season and time. You see, Epiphany has never truly been a highlight of my church life. Then and now. Then, and by that I mean the days of my childhood, it was something that my father did in church on a weekday; now, even though I hear of some parishes celebrating and processing on the feast of the Epiphany, it seems to have been relegated to a “Sunday After” category. Just as we have “All Saints’ Sunday” and mid-week patronal festivals are transferred to the Sunday before their actual date, so we celebrate the mysterious strangers on a day that is much more convenient to the modern churchgoer.

Yet my boyhood Epiphanies were exciting events because they involved gifts. Not gold, frankincense and myrrh – but chocolate! Each Epiphany night, when my father returned from the sung eucharist, he would set out a large plastic and cardboard snowman (named “Piff!”) in the middle of the room, from which extended a dozen or so coloured and numbered ribbons. We would take it in turns throwing dice and depending on our score would tug on a ribbon as the snowman was lifted up. Our prizes, usually large bars of Cadbury’s chocolate would be on the other end!

Simple pleasures, probably frowned upon in today’s health-correct society. But what a sweet way to end the season of Christmas!

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