Epiphany traditions

In 11 Joanna Bogle on 2012/01/20 at 9:11 AM

…is a glorious feast:”the wealth of nations will come to you; camels in throngs will cover you, and dromedaries of Midian and Ephah, everyone in Sheba will come”…and we had golden vestments and the Kings in the crib-scene in church moved in, edging out the shepherds adoring the Christ-child. An email from a friend in Ukraine reminded me that today is Christmas Day in the Julian calendar – he sent seasonal greetings from a sparkling snowbound land several degrees below zero…Jamie and I dressed up in our best yesterday evening and went off to my cousin’s for a party…only to find, on arrival, that the party had been on Friday! Ooops…however, we were warmly welcomed, and Angela poured drinks, lit candles on the dinner-table and we were given a delicious supper (“we’ve got stacks of food left over – come and help us eat it!”) with a variety of wonderful puddings, and we talked and laughed and all enjoyed ourselves hugely!
On Friday I was actually at a party at Mothers – all the residents of the flats where she lives gather together each year for a congenial celebration, at which I traditionall provide a Quiz, and the son-in-law of another resident sings, and there is a lovely buffet…it all went extremely well, with the Quiz getting everyone talking, especially the bits about English history, kings and queens, who married who, Alfred burning the cakes and Queen Victoria’s daughter marrying the Crown Prince of Prussia, and Bonnie Prince Charlie, and all those Hanoverian Georges, and so on.
A correspondent to this Blog asked about hymns for St Stephen’s Day (Boxing Day, Dec 26th). I just happened to notice something useful in the hymn-book at Mass today: (Laudate hymnal, published by Decani music, 1999) – there is a hymn beginning “By all your saints still striving/for all your saints at rest…” which has a whole set of extra verses for various different saints, with the feast-days listed, and there is one for St Stephen: “All praise, O Lord, for Stephen/who, martyred, saw you stand/to help in time of torment/to plead at God’s right hand…” The author is given as “Jerry D.Godwin, based on H. Nelson (1823-1913)”. I don’t know the tune, but the words to fit to a number of standard tunes including, for example “The Church’s one foundation”…

And now this evening I shall take down the cards and decorations, and the wreath from the door, and start dealing with dull things.


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