Today is January 6, known variously as the Feast of the Epiphany, Little Christmas, Three Kings Day, Phōta, the twelfth day of Christmas, and my nephew David's birthday. In most cultures, it's a celebration of the Adoration of the Magi. In some parts of Europe, it's the traditional day to take down your Christmas greenery. In France and Spain, and in places that were settled by immigrants from those places, like Mexico and Louisiana, there are traditions involving cake or bread into which a small toy or statue of Jesus has been baked.
As for me, it's the day on which my Advent project ends. I'm finishing the way I started, with a familiar hymn. (You may also know the hymn tune, DIX, as "For the Beauty of the Earth," but as the name suggests, it was written for this hymn.) This version is from the Presbyterian Hymnal; some other hymnals include a fifth verse. Thanks to everyone who read and commented on the posts, and thanks especially to the person or persons who followed the links to my 2008 posts and downloaded the songs I shared. Getting the notifications that the files had been downloaded made me glad I went to the trouble of making them available again. Starting tomorrow I'll go back to my regular posting habits: lists of ten things on weekdays, poems on Saturday, and works of art on Sunday. Yay?
As With Gladness Men of Old
As with gladness men of old
did the guiding star behold,
as with joy they hailed its light,
leading onward, beaming bright;
so, most glorious Lord, may we
Evermore be led to thee.
As with joyful steps they sped
to that lowly manger bed,
there to bend the knee before
Him whom heaven and earth adore;
so may we with willing feet
ever seek thy mercy-seat.
As they offered gifts most rare
at that manger rude and bare,
so may we with holy joy,
pure and free from sin's alloy,
all our costliest treasures bring,
Christ, to thee, our heavenly King.
Holy Jesus, every day
keep us in the narrow way,
and, when earthly things are past,
bring our ransomed souls at last
where they need no star to guide,
where no clouds thy glory hide.
Previous Advent posts:
William Chatterton Dix (1837–1898)
2004: We Three Kings
2005: Los Reyes Magos
2006: Three wee kings
2007: Twelfth Night
2008: Columba Altarpiece
2009: Sleigh Ride