By Michael V. Hannigan/HCN
What do you get when you combined three 8-foot cakes, crowns, toys, pinatas and a camel?
Three Kings Day at First Baptist Church in Athens, which is scheduled for 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, Jan. 6. Event organizers hope it will help begin to bridge the gap between cultures in the City. It is a part of the church’s “Manana Today” outreach.
The celebration will mark “the culmination of the twelve days of Christmas and commemorates the three wise men who traveled from afar, bearing gifts for the infant baby Jesus.”
Tilo’s Cuisine and Bakery is baking three huge king cakes, complete with tiny baby Jesus dolls hidden inside, for the event. There will also be hot chocolate, toys and crowns for the children to make. A camel will be there for photo opportunities.
Henderson and Bilingual Pastor Juan Moreno want to use the traditions of Three Kings Day — which is also celebrated as the Feast of the Epiphany — to bring the community together across racial lines.
“The wise men is an everybody story, so there’s a safe zone there where we can all do it together,” Henderson said. “These are the kind of little things that help us understand each other and love each other and know each other.”
“It is kind of one of these moments when we are learning each other’s cultures a little bit and try to understand each other,” he added.
Bridging the racial divide is important to FBC Athens and is the impetus behind “Manana Today,” which Moreno described as working to bring the ideal of Heaven to Earth.
“When we think of the kingdom, we think of all nations, all languages, all colors, all races together worshipping. But as we’ve thought about that, we’ve always thought about that in Heaven,” he said. “Our thought is, why do we have to wait until then?”
Saturday, you won’t have to wait. If you’re lucky, you might even get to hear the pastors singing the Pinata Song together.
(Follow Michael V. Hannigan on Twitter and Instagram @mvhannigan)