In some cultures, Christmas Day is kept strictly religious, and gifts are exchanged on the feast of the Epiphany, when the wise men (or Magi, whom tradition names as Gaspar, Melchior and Balthazar), brought gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh to the infant Jesus.
In our home, we do open gifts on Christmas... However, we do try to commemorate a few of the special feasts days, as well as the feast of Epiphany, during the 12 days of Christmas, with a few special gifts. This year, my hubby's dear parents decided to send Epiphany gifts to the our family! The kids were SO excited, and the anticipation has been building since the gifts arrived, and have been sitting under our tree!
Our special treat for today was star shaped sugar cookies, including a BIG star to represent the one that led the wise men to our Lord. They were very yummy! (Another fun dessert idea is a crown cake... I was actually going to make both, and have everything to make it, but didn't get a chance to... I never seem to get to everything I have planned, for some odd reason?!)
We also added a new book to our collection titled The Story of the Three Wise Kings by Tomie dePaola. It is out of print, but I was able to find an inexpensive used copy, and like all of his books, we really enjoyed it!
OH! We also opened this beautiful box of chocolates that we were given for Christmas! The chocolates won't last long, but the box is definitely a keeper!
There is also a special blessing of the home that can be done today, which includes an Epiphany Inscription over the doorway! We will do this today before dinner... Here is a copy of the blessing:
Blessing of the Home
on the Feast of the Epiphany
Priest/Father: Peace be to this house.
All: And to all who dwell herein
Priest: From the east came the Magi to Bethlehem to adore the Lord; and opening their treasures they offered precious gifts: gold for the great King, incense for the true God, and myrrh in symbol of His burial.
During the Magnificat below, the room is sprinkled with holy water and incensed:
All: My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Savior. For He hath regarded the humility of His handmaiden. For behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. For He that is mighty hath done great things to me, and holy is His Name. And His Mercy is from generation unto generations upon them that fear Him. He hath shewed might in His arm, He hath scattered the proud in the conceit of their heart. He hath put down the mighty from their seat, and hath exalted the humble. He hath filled the hungry with good things, and the rich He hath sent empty away. He hath received Israel, His servant, being mindful of His mercy. As He spoke to our Fathers, Abraham and His seed forever.
All: From the east came the Magi to Bethlehem to adore the Lord; and opening their treasures they offered precious gifts: gold for the great King, incense for the true God, and myrrh in symbol of His burial.
Priest: Our Father Who art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy Name. Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead and lead us not into temptation,
All: But deliver us from evil.
Priest: All they from Saba shall come
All: Bringing gold and frankincense.
Priest: O Lord, hear my prayer.
All: And let my cry come unto Thee.
Priest: Let us pray. O God, who by the guidance of a star didst on this day manifest Thine only-begotten Son to the Gentiles, mercifully grant that we who know Thee by faith may also attain the vision of Thy glorious majesty. Through Christ our Lord.
Priest: Be enlightened, be enlightened, O Jerusalem, for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee-- Jesus Christ born of the Virgin Mary.
All: And the Gentiles shall walk in thy light and kings in the splendor of thy rising, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon thee.
Priest: Let us pray. Bless, O Lord God almighty, this home, that in it there may be health, purity, the strength of victory, humility, goodness and mercy, the fulfillment of Thy law, the thanksgiving to God the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit. And may this blessing remain upon this home and upon all who dwell herein. Through Christ our Lord.
Bless each room with incense and Epiphany Water. Write the Magi’s initials, connected by Crosses, and the year’s numbers over the front door with the blessed chalk, like this:20 G+M+B 08Source here.
"And entering into the house, they found the child with Mary his mother, and falling down they adored him; and opening their treasures, they offered him gifts; gold, frankincense, and myrrh."