Off with his head!
Not the words of King Herod from our gospel reading. But the words of the Queen of Hearts from that wonderful book Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll.
If you are familiar with the book you will recall how through much of the book the Queen has her own way of dealing with difficulties which was to order the execution of everyone concerned.
The Cheshire Cat is accused by the King of Hearts of being impertinent. The Queen had only one way of settling all difficulties, great or small. “Off with his head!” she said …
And shortly after, during the croquet game being played with hedgehogs as balls and flamingos as mallets, Lewis Carroll tells us:Continue reading
This Sunday we kept the feast of Epiphany, transferring it from the 6th, as we are allowed to do in the Church of England. This meant that the feast of the Baptism of Christ, which it displaced, was itself transferred to Monday and celebrated with a mass. One of the things we do every year at Epiphany is bless chalk which is then taken home and used to mark the doorways to our homes. There is a very good explanation of this old European tradition here.
How many of you have taken down your Christmas decorations? Most of you, I suspect! (At this point I got people to put their hands up – only one person other than my wife and I still had them up – an Orthodox Christian who was, of course, celebrating Christmas according to the Orthodox calendar).
Well, we still have them up in the vicarage! Let my explain why! If you follow tradition you’ll at least have kept them up for twelfth night which was on Thursday, and then have taken them down on Friday, the feast of Epiphany. However, we are allowed to keep the feast of Epiphany on the nearest Sunday, so this year you can keep them up an extra two days and take them down today. Apart from the crib scene, of course – our knitted crib figures will stay up in the vicarage until Candlemas.
There’s an old superstition that if you don’t take your decorations down the day after twelfth night it will bring bad luck – apparently, the gods of the greenery might escape and take up residence in your house. Continue reading