The green table is moving! I'll begin posting again after we're all set up in our new home!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Relax, Enjoy, it's Epiphany!

Wait! Christmas isn't over yet! 

Like many of the high feasts of the Church Year, Christmas is more than a day, it's a season.  The Season of Christmas begins with Advent, the time of preparation and waiting for our Savior, followed by the twelve days of Christmas. Finally, it's time for Epiphany! 

Throughout the week leading up to Epiphany our Wise Men move down the counter top a little closer to Jesus each day!
Maybe you've celebrated Epiphany by keeping your tree and decorations up through January 6. In our home we also wait to add the Wise Men to our nativity scene until the week before Epiphany.   If you're able to restrain yourself, maybe you even wait until Epiphany to open Christmas gifts. I've also heard of families who limit the number of gifts to three - just as baby Jesus received three gifts.  I love these gifting ideas in theory, but I'm not sure they'd be well received in the Koehneke home - unless, like Jesus, the gifts include gold!

Epiphany is about a lot more than Wise Men bringing gifts to baby Jesus; it's also about the good gifts our Savior gives us.  During Epiphany we recall Jesus' baptism - and the gift of our own Baptism where we were washed clean in the water and the Word.  We also remember Jesus' first miracle, turning water into wine at the Cana wedding feast. (John 2:1-12) When Jesus' mother asked Him to keep the party going by whipping up some wine, Jesus' replies, "My hour has not come" - and I can't help but shiver as He subtly connects this wine to His eventual sacrificial feast of His own body and blood - given and shed for the forgiveness of all of your sins.  Yes, Epiphany is a time for good gifts! 

In a way, I almost love Epiphany more than Christmas.  Epiphany is effortless, enjoyable. After all of the hustle and preparations of Advent and Christmas, it's almost a selfish time to just sit back and appreciate all those good gifts.  Take a deep breath and relax, it's Epiphany!

You've heard me talk about our Amish friends; they call Epiphany "Little Christmas", and even take the day off work.  Even better, "Woman's Christmas" is the name for Epiphany in Ireland.  Reading about Woman's Christmas a few years ago, I was thrilled to learn I was not alone in my readiness for a "day off", and it gave my mom and I a wonderful idea! Why not get together for a party - and not prepare anything!  The decorations are still up, the Christmas music is still playing, and if you're lucky there are still a couple bottles of wine that need to be drained. 

Still, every feast needs food, and our family still needs to eat dinner.  So we order take-out.  It might be a stretch, but we order Chinese - the Wise Men traveled from the east, right?  And, we even use disposable plates! I try to find fancy plates with stars on them.  

Yes, paper or plastic is in order for Woman's Christmas! This year we opted to dress up some clear plastic plates by applying gold and silver foil star stickers around the rim of the plate. 
This was a project little Adelae could accomplish all on her own with great pride in the results! While sticking stars we talked together about the Wise Men who followed the star God placed over the place where Jesus was living.  We talked about the precious gifts they gave their Savior King, and the good gifts God gives us today.  I'm always amazed by the high level of conversation possible, even with a four year old, as the Holy Spirit is working in these little souls!

So pick up a King's Cake from the bakery, or just set out those leftover Christmas cookies! Bust out your best plastic! Enjoy Epiphany, ladies!  Relax!  Live in the love of your family and the good gifts of your Savior, Christ Jesus!

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