I had a wonderful Christmas and a very Happy New Year and now …Aha! I am in a new season. Actually, I truly am in a new season. The Season of Epiphany. Growing up in the church, I was aware of the Christian seasons and the altar cloth and flower colors changing, but I never really studied the seasons or knew much about them. I still don’t, but I intend to learn more in that area in 2020, but this year, I have decided to acknowledge the true Christian seasons in a new way.
First off, Christmas. In a culture of one and done, it seems that Christmas is all build-up and little follow-through. We celebrate Advent for four weeks and anticipate Christmas and then many times when it arrives we are too tired to give the holiday more than one day of celebration when in the Christian calendar, Christmas lasts 12 days. Aha! The familiar Christmas song of the 12 days of Christmas! There really are 12 days of Christmas and Christmas Day is Day #1. So, on New Year’s Eve we should be celebrating Swans-a Swimming and on New Year’s Day maids-a-milking and finally, today we should be listening to Drummers drumming. (Maybe I should let the organist know so our hymns can reflect that today?)
This year, I have been mindful of the twelve days and I firmly decided to enjoy each of the 12 days of Christmas. Of course, I didn’t host a dinner or a party each day, but I did enjoy the sweets this year instead of dumping the crumbs on the 26th. I’ve continued to ask family members to play board games or do an activity with me and I’ve continued to say “Merry Christmas” to friends. (Isn’t it something how the Christmas music on the radio disappears immediately after the 25th…talk about sudden withdrawal!)
But today is it. The 12th day of Christmas. Christmas is over and the season of Epiphany begins. Aha! I’m saying the season because Epiphany lasts until February 23rd this year! (Annually it ends the last Sunday before Ash Wednesday.) We all know how we traditionally celebrate Christmas, but what does one do for Epiphany? Well, in the past, I’ve done nothing, but this year I have hopes of taking the symbolic light we received with candles on Christmas Eve and taking it forward. In the hopes of keeping the spirit of Christmas alive a bit longer, I am embracing the season of Epiphany. Epiphany recognizes how a star led the Magi, the Kings, the Wise Men (I always got confused as a kid with all these different names) to the baby Jesus and for us, I believe it is to prompt us to lead others to Jesus as well. That light we received on Christmas Eve, the gift of Jesus we received on Christmas morning is still here and we are to light the way to Him for others.
Others who have recognized this season have many ways of celebrating, but for me, I’m going to end my Christmas Season and head into Epiphany by allowing my light and some lights in my home to remain on for a while (not sure I can hang on until Ash Wednesday but we will see.) I’m going to keep some twinkle lights on my mantle, battery-operated candles in my windows and I’m going to light candles more often. I’m going to do this intentionally to remind me to take the light and go forth as Epiphany intends. Aha! (Did you catch on to my wordplay there? Having an Epiphany about Epiphany?) Aha! Go Forth and shine your light!
… let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. –Matthew 5:16