The following is a post from my Celebrate Like a Catholic Series. Happy Epiphany!
Hello, Call Her Happy readers! Let me start with a quick introduction. I’m Kate, and I’m married to my college sweetheart, Mike. We’ve been married 11 years now and have three great kids– ages 5, 2, and 1 (and two more in heaven). Here are some pictures of our family on Christmas morning last year. Please excuse our pajamas.
Onto the Epiphany celebration–
Our Epiphany celebration has evolved over the years as our faith has matured. Truthfully, we never thought much about the Epiphany and treated the day much like any other Sunday until we received an annoying letter in the mail a few years ago. We were living in the greater Las Vegas area at the time, and our homeowner’s association sent us a letter informing us that we were in violation of the HOA rules because our Christmas lights were still up. The letter informed us that all holiday lights and decorations had to be removed from the exterior of the home by January 1st.
My husband was outraged, “but Christmas isn’t over yet!”
“It’s not?” I questioned. “Most people consider the Christmas season as being over on New Year’s Day.”
“But not Catholics,” he argued. “We celebrate until January 6th, the Epiphany, when the three wise men finally arrived in Bethlehem to greet the baby Jesus and give him gifts.”
I was dumbfounded. “Really?”
“Yes, really! Didn’t you go to Catholic school?” he teased. “That’s the whole symbolism of the lights on the houses– to resemble the star that guided the three kings to Bethlehem.”
“Really?” I asked again. No wonder my blog title is The Imperfect Catholic, right?
So, that letter started it all in our family. From that point on, we started to be more thoughtful about how we celebrated both the twelve days of Christmas and the Advent season leading up to Christmas. Many new traditions have evolved through the years as a result for our family.
One great resource that has helped us in creating our own family traditions is The Big Book of Catholic Customs and Traditions. It’s a really nice resource for simple prayers and activities for the entire liturgical year, not just Christmas.
We started celebrating the Epiphany with our children in simple ways. We started putting up Christmas decorations later and later each year during Advent and kept the decorations up until Christmas was over on January 7th. We explained the liturgical season to our children and why we were still celebrating Christmas when the rest of the world seemed to be finished on January 1st.
This year we will be reading stories about the Three Wise Men. Here is one book that we’ll be reading.
Don’t the pictures look beautiful?
For more book suggestions for all of Advent and the Twelve Days of Christmas, I suggest you peruse the book list at Shower of Roses.
To close, I’d like to say that the Epiphany should be a celebration. We can celebrate in so many different ways, and I think we can do this not only on January 6th, but in the days preceding. With so many kids with two full weeks off from school and nothing to do, why not bake star & crown shaped cookies one day, make & deliver meals or cookies on another, and celebrate with a party on or close to the 6th.
Happy Epiphany everyone!