Father Philip Writes...
The Epiphany is observed on 6th/7th January as the arrival of the Wise Men (the Bible does not say there were 3, but mentions 3 gifts) to the House in Bethlehem (not the stable) where they found Jesus, Mary and Joseph. It was some time after the birth of Jesus. As I have mentioned before, it is an ancient custom on this day to bless chalk, which is then used to write the initials traditionally given to the wise men above or near the main door of the house, together with the year.
Since the 15th Century, the blessing of the Plough has been associated in England with the Feast of Epiphany. Plough Monday (the day after Plough Sunday) was the cue to start work on the land after the 12 days of Christmass and the plough was decorated and brought into church for a blessing. It was then taken on procession through the village. The pagan origin of this was to draw evil spirits from the ground where new crops were to be sown. Like many other traditions, this was later Christianised so that it became a day of asking for God’s blessing on the land.
We are very fortunate that they choose to visit Mendlesham each year and of course anyone is also most welcome to come to see them at the Parish Mass, where we always pray that their dancing will bring inspiration and joy into our lives.
Finally, our Christian Aid Crib appeal will finish on 8th January. If you have not yet given, it is not too late to do so. Last year’s appeal raised £1069.15 (including Gift Aid) for some of the world’s poorest people. So often I hear people say that the world’s problems are so great that we cannot make a difference. As Kay Florentino wrote:
“I cannot change the world, but I can change a small part of it.”