Today, the 6th January is the Feast of the Epiphany, the time when the church remembers the visit of the Magi to the infant Jesus. It is only in Matthew's Gospel account that we get any reference to the Magi or 'wise men from the east' and his intention by including the story is to enable his readers to see that Jesus was born for all God's people. Matthew's Gospel was written for a primarily Jewish audience and his reference to Jesus as being 'King of the Jews' is significant. Matthew is at pains to show his readers that Jesus was born for their salvation, that he is their Messiah long awaited and by having the Magi (gentiles) say so as they pay him homage he is also indicating that Jesus is not only King of the Jews but of the whole human race, Jew and gentile alike.At the Good Shepherd, Murrayfield we kept the feast yesterday with joy and great singing. It is a significant part of the Christmas celebrations but sadly in popular culture is is almost forgotten. Centuries ago it was the day when people gave each other presents, echoing the gift giving of the Magi and was for a long time known as 'Old Christmas Day' once the main celebrations shifted to the 25th December. In Spain and other countries the 6th January is the day families gather to celebrate Christmas and exchange their gifts; there are street processions with the Magi (or more likely kings riding) into town accompanied, nowadays by Father Christmas. It is a great time to visit Spain and to really celebrate Epiphany.
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