Today (or tomorrow) depending where you are, we observe the Feast of the Epiphany, or Little Christmas. Epiphany signifies the night on which The Three Kings were led by a star to Bethlehem to the crib side of the Christ Child, where they presented gifts to him of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. It’s called the “Epiphany” because it marks the night when Christ’s birth was revealed to the Gentiles, while December 25th marks its revelation to Israel. Many European families exchange gifts on Epiphany, not Christmas Day.
I wonder what the Three Kings thought when they finally arrived at their destination to meet the child born King of the Jews? In my daily devotional this morning, the reflection pointed out that they might have walked right by the Savior, huddled away with his simple, poor parents in a stable. No glitz, show, or glamour: just the paradox of love wrapped in swaddling, of the power of God revealed through vulnerability.
Where are we looking for Jesus? I am so grateful that we don’t need to journey far to find him, that we don’t need riches or jewels to honor his dignity and majesty. We need only look around us. He’s not far. Listen. I hear my children laughing as I type, negotiating who will fit best into a leftover box they’ve converted into a fort. Mirth. Goofiness even. Jesus is there. He is truly reflected in our children, when they are laughing and playing, when they are in need of warmth or comfort. He is most honored by our tender, generous love. Our words of kindness and our cuddles are really rubies and pearls to him. Raising these children who are open to life, to laughter, who are capable of mercy and compassion — Jesus rejoices at this sacred offering more than we can comprehend.
Today my family will observe Epiphany with our annual Epiphany Tea. I’m so looking forward to the pretty, simple joy of this ritual! If you’re looking for some fun, practical ways to observe Epiphany in your home, here are some links:
Living Epiphany by Kim Cameron-Smith. I share how we observe Epiphany in our home, with family reading suggestions.
Catholic Culture. How to do a home blessing on Epiphany, ideas for an Epiphany drama.
Cottage Blessings. Ideas for an Epiphany tea party.