Christine V. Hides
I would never admit this to my seminary friends, but this week I will take down our Christmas tree. As we head into the new year, I’m ready to reclaim my house from the mess of Christmas. While my hunch is that the majority of people take down their decorations now, according to the Church calendar Christmas is still happening until January 6. While the rest of the world moves on and the season’s leftovers are put on the clearance racks, Church time defiantly invites us to linger in the mystery of the birth of Jesus Christ.
Epiphany, the last of the 12 days of Christmas on January 6, is often celebrated with stars or king’s cake. On this day we remember the Magi bringing gifts to baby Jesus. Even though we include the wise men on Christmas Eve, it is likely they didn’t arrive until later. They stop first in Jerusalem, asking for directions to the newborn king. Threatened by news of a baby who might challenge his authority, Herod asks them to report back. Wisely the Magi defy Herod’s request and return to their home by another route. Mary and Joseph flee with baby Jesus to Egypt.
As our children grow older they are able to hear this challenging part of story and make connections with the events of the world we live in. This is the gift of Church time that doesn’t rush us past the manger with no time to reflect. Church time has both a yearly and a weekly rhythm that helps us to grow in our faith and understanding. In this new year, and this new season, how might we commit to making time every week to grow in faith through prayer, engaging with the stories of the Bible, caring for others, worshiping with the church community, and scheduling family sabbath time?