My sweet neighbor boy asked me why we still had our Christmas lights up? “Aren’t you going to take them down?” he questioned. “Everyone is taking them down, Christmas is over.” So there I stood with an opportunity to share about my faith and the Epiphany. He smiled, looked at my lights and went back to playing with the rest of the sandlot crew.
Many feel that since Christmas Day has passed, the presents have been opened, and the family has gone…it’s time to pack up the Christmas decorations and get ready for New Years. No! Christmas has just begun. Christmas Day starts up the 12 days of Christmas which ends with the Epiphany on January 6. The Epiphany, the 12th day of Christmas celebrates the visit of the three kings or wise men to the Christ Child, signifying the extension of salvation to the Gentiles. You may hear it called “Three Kings Day”. It commemorates the day the three kings (the magi or “wise men”) followed the star to Bethlehem and presented their gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.
The term epiphany means “to show” or “to make known” or even “to reveal.” In Western churches, it remembers the coming of the wise men bringing gifts to visit the Christ child, who by so doing “reveal” Jesus to the world as Lord and King.
In some Central and South American countries influenced by Catholic tradition, Three Kings’ Day, or the night before, is the time for opening Christmas presents (many bake the Three Kings Cake).www.dcist.com
It is customary to give small gifts throughout the twelve days of Christmas. The cakes above hide gifts inside the cakes to discover! We are usually with our relatives on Christmas Day, but we will do small gifts or lil trips throughout town to celebrate throughout those 12 days.San Francisco Tea Gardens during 12 days of Christmas
We will go to Mass on the Epiphany, and instead of opening presents (which many wait to open gifts this night over dinner) we will celebrate with a family dinner or maybe head to the Happiest Place on Earth…even Mickey Mouse and the gang celebrate the Epiphany.
Of course, we keep the Christmas tree up the whole time, play Christmas music, and continue to wish friends and family a Merry Christmas. It’s all a wonderful way to draw the joy of Christmas into the New Year–and to draw our children more fully into the beauties of the Catholic Faith. Yes, I had Christmas music blaring throughout the house and outside today-my husband was more than patient with me.
So, in the spirit of the Epiphany and “gift-giving” my friend Luciana Laszewski has a new tradition treat for you! As you pack up your Christmas decor, be sure to hold onto those Christmas cards….this fab mother of two has a New Years wish for all of you. Below she will share a story and her new tradition. Thanks Luciana!
It was as fairly typical Spring Friday afternoon as I was walking my son to the baseball diamond for practice. As I was passing another team with polite and anonymous smiles being exchanged, I heard my name being called. It was a friend of mine I see far too infrequently.
She commented too on how we hardly see each other anymore and then continued to say that it was ironic she saw me on this day since that morning she and her family had prayed for us. I was so touched. I believe so strongly in the power of prayer, but why on this day? So I asked. She explained that every year they keep their holiday cards and throughout the year they revisit them and say a prayer for the friends who sent the card.
My memories of the day flooded my head and I pushed back tears. That morning had started off particularly hard. I remember thinking that the day was going to be a loss, nothing was going well. Then suddenly, it changed and I noticed very clearly that it had. I remember being amazed and grateful, but not questioning why, just happy that it turned into a great day.
This change of tide was not luck, but prayer. This year, we are keeping our cards and we will be praying for one of our friends each day throughout the year. I look forward to sharing the love of prayer for friends and family with my children and watching their hearts grow.
Thanks Luciana and Merry Christmas everyone! Here is our family Christmas card, we would love to have you pray for our crew! Please e-mail us yours to firstname.lastname@example.org- we will keep you in our thoughts and prayers all year long!