Friday, January 4, 2013

Epiphany Now!

Epiphany partially defined, with recipes...

1) A Christian festival where Three Kings with presents follow a star looking for a baby boy, get scared and go home by another way. Don't worry, they leave us the tradition of gifts before they go, but every year we're left trying to apply whatever meaning we can glean from this story to our actual messy, busy lives, while fixing or re-assembling the aforementioned gifts and shopping for replacement batteries.
Occasionally there are pageants to reenact the story and people get really creative, but it doesn't happen nearly enough. These puppets get my vote for prettiest Kings ever. They're over ten-feet tall and require seven people (one adult) to wrangle each one. Thanks to Emily and Suzanne for sharing.

2) An appearance or manifestation, especially of a deity. At which manifestation one of the kings was overheard saying "Melchior! May I borrow your Epiphany? Either I've got a bad feeling about the road home or the baby needs to be changed. Either way, I'm allergic to that smell." ...proving once again the humanity of baby Jeebus.

3) A term in literary criticism for a sudden realization--a flash of recognition in which someone or something is seen in a new light. Adjective: epiphanic. Like finding the batteries (How'd they get there?), or maybe like a panic attack. Hard to tell what it means, really, it's literary criticism.

4)A sudden, intuitive perception of or insight into the reality or essential meaning of something, usually initiated by some simple, homely, or commonplace occurrence or experience. This is often characterized by a "WTF?!" or a "Whoa! did you see that?!" or a "Can you believe this shit?!" type of reaction. Occasionally these reactions develop into responses, but we're a distractable lot, so it doesn't happen nearly enough.

9) Epiphany is also the day you wake up wondering "Who the hell knocked on the door singing carols in German last night?" and "Why are there chalk marks on the front door?" I don't know about German carolers, but the chalk thing is old. The Kings have been named Caspar, Melchior, and Balthazar since before we were born, possibly so some old church guy could have an excuse to bless your grandma's house correctly in Latin: Christus mansionem benedicat, which translates as "may Christ bless the house." Nowadays, we can bless each another at anytime in any language. We should probably do it more. Every day sounds good to me. Too much? Okay, how about when we think of one another?

7) A traditional time to bake and eat cake or liberate Puerto Rican children. On the day of the Eve of the Epiphany, children (if they haven't been thrown in jail or perished of ennui by now, due to the lack of Xmas presents), are asked to cut grass to feed the camels. The grass is put in a box under the bed because this is how their grandparents did it. While the children sleep, the box is filled with gifts, the grass is thrown away (not a large camel population in Puerto Rico), and on Epiphany they open the gifts (Los Reyes only come if the child has been good all year, and if the children are awake they bypass the house).

5) A time to intentionally review the same sh**, different day theory of stuckness, thus provoking epiphanies wherever you look, until Lent, by which time you realize you've forgotten and need to start over. The trouble with Lent is that it lacks the party atmosphere and some people act like you're supposed to feel bad about yourself. Epiphanies don't happen nearly often enough, so better to start now. There's cake.

May your house be blessed.

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