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The Feast of the Epiphany of Our Lord, 6 January 2019

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TheFeast of the Epiphany, Christmas Eve, 6 January 2019
Isaiah 60:1-6 Psalm 72:1-7,10-14 Ephesians 3:1-12 Matthew 2:1-12


Background: The StarIn the ancient near east, especially in Mesopotamia, the eight or six-pointed star was associated with the worship of Ishtar or Inanna. The goddess Ishtar was also associated with the planet Venus, as is Jesus – the Morning Star. The star is found on boundary stones, stele, and other sculptured monuments. It is often found with the crescent moon, the symbol of Sin, the moon god, and with a circular disk, symbol of Shamash, the god of the sun. In Egypt the star was associated with Nut, the goddess of the sky. She is usually depicted as being clothed in a star-covered robe. Hieroglyphs associated with her included stars, the sky and cows. In Canaan, the star was often associated with Astarte or Ashtarot, the goddess of fertility, sexuality, and war. Her star was often represented within a circle, and was associated with Venus. In Greek mythology, the pl…

The Nativity of Our Lord, Christmas Eve, 24 December 2018

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TheNativity of Our Lord, Christmas Eve, 24 December 2018
Isaiah 9:2-7 Psalm 96 Titus 2:11-14 St. Luke 2:2-14, (15-20)


Background: Christmas
The celebration of Christ’s birth has moved about amongst various dates and with a variety of emphases, but the date of 25 December seems to have stuck. In the Eastern Church, it is celebrated in the Julian Calendar, which in the western calendar is 7 January. The Western Church celebrates the Feast of the Epiphany on 6 January. The stretch of days from 25 December through 6/7 January is seen as one unified cycle. The Council of Tours made that determination in 567. The earliest documentation about the celebration of this Feast is from a Roman document dating from 336. There it records “8 Kalends January – the birth Christ in Bethlehem, Judea. The Eastern Church introduced the festival, centered around the Epiphany and the Baptism of Jesus in Constantinople in 379. It disappeared for a few years, but was reintroduced by St. John Chrysostom in 400.
First …