Monday, 6 January 2014

Happy New Year! Happy Epiphany!

After a lovely Christmas, holidays and many visitors, it's time to settle back into our usual pattern of life. However, one lovely tradition my husband brought into our family is the French way of celebrating of Epiphany, and this is a wonderful way to round off the holidays - the final feast and gathering before easing back into school and work.

Epiphany marks the later arrival of the wise men to visit Jesus. Having packed away the other Christmas decorations, it's nice to have something to cheer up an empty looking house. I also like to have a flowering bulb to put on our table after Christmas - just to help point us toward spring and to take the place of the Advent wreath.

The little boxes contain Frankincense and Myrrh . I used them in our final Advent Club. I think the children enjoyed discovering their scents. You can hold the grains in the flame of a candle and they release a scented smoke. I love the smell of Frankincense, it is so rich and beautiful.

This year I remembered a story for Epiphany. As a child we welcomed a young woman from the Bruderhof Community into our home for a while. She gave me a copy of this book 'Behold that Star' which is a Christmas anthology of stories. Most of the stories are folk tales but with Christ at the centre. Lovely black and white illustrations accompany the text. I lost it during a move so I was thrilled to discover it still in print a few years back. One of the stories, 'The Three Gifts' explores what might have happened to the gifts the wide men brought.

Along with some simple decorations and a story, the thing we enjoy most is a 'Galette des Rois'. This is a truly scrumptious French concoction that my husband makes for us each year. A recipe can be found here but we usually omit the rum. It is topped with a gold crown and a bean or little clay model of the baby Jesus is hidden inside. We always invite a few friends or neighbours to share it with us. The youngest sits under the table and calls out everyone's names as the cake is served. This ensures total fairness! The person who finds baby Jesus in their slice is the wise man - or woman.  

That person can either keep the crown for themselves or give it to someone else to be their king or queen. One of our neighbours found Jesus, and with the wisdom of Solomon offered the crown to my two sons, to have for six months each!

I must confess that I'm not really one for New Year resolutions, as I'm dreadful at keeping them. But this year I have decided to get more into the Gospel of John, and I've already bought 'Water into Wine' by Stephen Verney which was recommended to me. Ann Voskamp has produced some lovely printables to help memorise some chunks of John, so I will be heading over to her blog often this year. And you? Any hopes or plans for this coming year?


  1. Hilary, Your felted figures and cake are beautiful! Thanks for the book tip as well. It's lovely to see how your family has embraced this holiday and your husband's French traditions. I also linked to this post in my Epiphany post.:)

  2. Your felted wisemen are beautiful! I'm looking forward to finding a copy of the book you mention as well. Thanks for the post!

  3. Your website is perfect. I like it. Thank's for the post