This weekend we approach the end of the Christmas season, which concludes with Monday’s feast of the Baptism of the Lord. In today’s feast, The Epiphany, we celebrate Christ revealed to the world, symbolised in the story of the three wise men.
We often sing the carol We Three Kings on this feast. The song, in its entirety, tells us about the gifts these men brought and the meaning we can now see symbolised within them. St Bede the Venerable, in describing the wise men, explained that the gift of gold was for a king. Frankincense was a gift which paid homage to the Divine. In presenting myrrh, the magi offer a gift to one who was destined to die.
These gifts remind us that the entire Christmas season only comes to fulfilment in the Paschal Mystery; the mystery that is the death and resurrection of Christ. The first Christmas saw a child born. It is what Jesus went on to do that makes Christmas such an important event in our tradition today.
So we come to the close of this Christmas season and enter Ordinary Time before beginning again the journey towards the celebration of Easter. One season comes to its fullness in the other. But to have the hot cross buns out in the supermarket already (like I saw during the past week) is just plain ridiculous!