“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13
Celebration illumination: Mardi Gras
Magi from the East with only a star provided by God as their G.P.S. (Global Positioning System) undertook a long journey to find the one who would be born a King, the one and only Son of God. They followed the bright shining star to a stable in Bethlehem and found Jesus, the Holy baby lying in a manger. When they saw the baby they were overjoyed and bowed down and worshiped him. Then these three wise kings opened their treasures and presented Jesus with gifts of gold, incense and myrrh. This celebration became known as Twelfth Night and the Feast of Epiphany. It is also the beginning of Mardi Gras Season which lasts until the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday which begins the season of Lent. Children in New Orleans celebrate Mardi Gras with a King Cake. It is an oval shaped cake that is decorated in the colors of green for Faith, yellow for Power and purple for Justice. Inside the cake is hidden a small plastic baby to represent the Holy baby that the wise men found. It is said that the child who finds the baby in their piece of cake will receive blessings all year long. Simon found the baby in our cake and was declared a wise king.
Wise Men Crowns
Cut long strips of poster board (I used large gold gift bags that I found at the dollar store). Cut crown points along one side of the strip. Using glue sticks add sequins for jewels and sticker stars for wisdom to the crown. Staple the crown together after measuring to fit the head of your child.
Mardi Gras masks
Cut a mask shape from a colorful red, green, blue or gold gift bag. With a hot glue gun, glue a wooden dowel stick or a jumbo craft stick to the side of the mask for your child to hold it up to their face. Cut out two eye shapes and with a glue stick glue glitter around the eyes. Add shiny ribbons, sequins or stickers to decorate the mask.
I wondered about the many masked celebrations that take place in New Orleans during Mardi Gras. It started me thinking about the many masks we each wear in life hoping that someone will see us as the person we want to be rather than who we really are. Only God knows the heart and we will never discover the real person we were meant to be until we begin to seek Him and find Him.
King Cake Recipe
- 4 ounces of cream cheese (half of a brick)
- 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 3 or 4 Tablespoons cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- colored sugars, purple, yellow and green
Beat cream cheese, brown sugar and cinnamon until smooth. Set filling aside. Unroll crescent roll dough on a greased pizza pan or baking sheet and separate in triangles. Place triangles side by side in an oval pattern. Press seams together in the middle of each triangle so that you can fold them over filling. Spread the filling around in a ring covering the center of the sealed seam of each triangle. Fold the top and bottom of each triangle over the filling. Tuck under the triangle points and lightly press the seams.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and bake cake for 20 – 25 minutes until golden brown. Let cool and carefully insert a small plastic baby into the cake from the underside.
Beat the powdered sugar, cream and vanilla together until smooth. Spread the room temperature cake with icing allowing it to drip down sides of cake. Sprinkle colored sugars over cake in a swirl pattern. Add some gold, purple and green beads that have been thoroughly washed in soapy water and dried.
I bought our King cake at the bakery but this one doesn’t sound too difficult to make if your bakery doesn’t sell them. A small plastic baby may be found at the Dollar store.
Don’t you know that the devil must have harassed those wise kings shooting darts at them all along their journey. I can just imagine the devil projecting thoughts into their minds like, “This is such a waste of time! You’ll never find this baby. Why don’t you just take your treasures and spend them on something you want?”
But the Magi never wavered in their quest. Their focus was fixed. Thus they were known as wise men. To find the LORD is the greatest reward of all rewards.