Tonight is the eve of Theophany/Epiphany, the beginning of the feast. According to some traditions, the wise men will arrive tomorrow, so this will be the last night I have my star in the upstairs window. I wanted to keep it up at least until this day — last year’s burnt out before, I think, and the picture is of the new one that isn’t as clear a signal, but at least it lets the neighbors know that we keep Christmas here.
I baked cookies this year, but when the 25th dawned I’d only made five kinds, instead of my usual dozen or so. After Kate arrived on the Second Day of Christmas I made another three batches, and now those are mostly eaten or given away, too. This is the second collection. Clockwise from the left, Chocolate Black Pepper, Peanut Brickle Bars, Apricot Macaroons, Ginger Spice, Walnut Coffee Cookies, and above them, Bizcochitos. The Peanut Brickle Bars were a completely new kind, and everyone loved them, so I made a second batch to replenish the stores.
We ate cookies and opened presents in various groupings over the course of a week. During one of the opening sessions Liam cozied up the couch next to me by piling up my Christmas bears there; then he settled in. We got to see eight of the twelve grandchildren this Christmas, which was one the best parts.
Soldier and Joy made several beautiful wood-burned signs for gifts; this one below Mr. Glad and I received and put up on the wall right away. Everyone who saw it could join in the feeling it conveyed, and admire the handiwork.
Our Christmas tree this year was such a beautiful tapered shape, thick with branches whose fat needles didn’t dry out. Unfortunately its trunk did not taper, but stayed thick to the top, which made it weigh a ton, and I pulled muscles and sinews in various places just helping Mr. Glad get the tree in and up. We are procrastinating the undoing of that project. I know, it looks like many other Christmas trees, and you can’t see all around it to know what I’m talking about, but I want its picture here anyway. It has so many branches down low, I have had to crawl under every night to water it, and that makes me love it even more.
Pippin often gives me a bird for the tree. This year’s cloisonne edition looks like it should be the king of all, so royally dressed, articulated and brilliant.
At church some icons had been decorated with soft conifer branches, making a sort of tent over the image. And my city still had its decorations up last night; the fire department hangs these lights on the coast redwood trees that line the main boulevard. We’ve enjoyed them for 20 years or more, but this is the first year I’ve managed to stop and take their picture.
Epiphany in the west focuses on the visit of the Magi to the Christ Child, and I think everywhere it is about Light, too. Quoting from this website, “From ancient times this Feast was called the Day of Illumination and the Feast of Lights, since God is Light and has appeared to illumine ‘those who sat in darkness,’ and ‘in the region of the shadow of death’ (Mt.4:16), and to save the fallen race of mankind by grace.”
In the Orthodox Church we commemorate the Baptism of Christ in the Jordan by John the Baptist, when not only was Christ shown to be the Light of the World and the Son of God, but the Holy Trinity was revealed, as our hymn for the feast reminds us with rejoicing:
When You, O Lord were baptized in the Jordan
The worship of the Trinity was made manifest
For the voice of the Father bore witness to You
And called You His beloved Son.
And the Spirit, in the form of a dove,
Confirmed the truthfulness of His word.
O Christ, our God, You have revealed Yourself
And have enlightened the world, glory to You!