Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas and the Epiphany

IMG_8458 Our Christmas was wonderful, I hope yours was as well. We celebrated by going to mass and eating lots of yummy foods during the four days my husband was home.  It was just my little family, as our relatives live at least 9 hours away.  Even though we miss all our relatives, we kind of like our cozy little Christmases. It gives us plenty of time to enjoy each other, relax,  and really concentrate on the reason for the holiday.

And the exciting part is it is not over! My Christmas decorations are still up and will be for at least another week, until we celebrate the Epiphany.  It wasn’t until adulthood that I realized not all faiths celebrate the Epiphany, so I thought I could share some traditions that surround this feast day with you.

First of all, the Epiphany is when we celebrate the arrival of the Magi to the Christ Child.  Most have heard of the 12 days of Christmas, or at least you’ve heard the song. Well, the Epiphany falls on the 12th day of Christmas, Jan. 6th.  For us Catholics, Epiphany is celebrated on the Sunday between the 2nd and the 6th. So we are still celebrating Christmas at my house as we patiently await the arrival of the Magi.

9 After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 11 On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. 12 And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.

-Matthew 2: 9-12

Some fun ways to celebrate the Epiphany is by waiting to place the Magi in the nativity scene until this day. At the end of the day the family can formally put the nativity away for the next year. Of course at our house any excuse to cook and eat  is celebrated. Traditionally a lamb roast is served . A Texas Epiphany celebration includes a smoked brisket. I’m not sure how traditional that is, but for my family it works wonderfully. Many serve a 3 Kings cake, which we have never done, but I’m thinking this year we will try it.  So stay tuned, I’ll try to share our 3 King cake with you next week:)

After the arrival of the Magi, we can take down our Christmas decorations and put them away for another year. But the story of Christ’s birth will stay with us throughout the year.

Do you have any traditions in your family that you celebrate after Christmas to continue to reflect on the birth of Jesus?


Janna Qualman said...

Very interesting! I liked learning about this, Kara. Thanks for sharing.

I've seen several people ask about the reason for "twelve days of Christmas" this year, and now I can try to articulate the answer. :)

Nancy said...

This is helpful information. We don't celebrate Epiphany as such. I think it is a beautiful tradition.

Kara said...

Thanks Nancy and Janna! I seem to learn more and more about my faith as I get older and start researching the history of things:)