The Time Has Come
Happy New Year! I know, I know. We are a week into 2022 so what’s with the Happy New Year? I’ll tell you. This coming week feels like the real beginning of the new year because I’m just now taking my Christmas decorations down and putting them away.
For several years now, I have waited until January 6, Epiphany Day, to take down my Christmas decorations. I typically wait until Thanksgiving afternoon to begin putting them up so I’m not anxious to take them down too soon. Years ago, I would begin dismantling the display of holiday cheer on New Year’s Day, but lately, I’ve postponed it a few more days. One year, I even hosted an Epiphany Day tea. I think I may need to do that again.
What Is Epiphany?
In Western Christianity, Epiphany, or Three Kings Day, celebrates the visit of the Magi to the Christ Child. These wise men had heard of the birth of a new king. They saw his star in the sky and wanted to find him so they could worship him. They had traveled a great distance to do so. You can read about this in the Bible, Matthew Chapter 2.
Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of King Herod, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, "Where is he who is born King of the Jews? For we saw his star in the east, and have come to worship him." Matthew 2: 1-2 WEB
In Eastern Christianity, Epiphany celebrates the baptism of Christ by John the Baptist in the Jordan River. Tarpon Springs, a small town about an hour away from me, has a large Greek community with a deep Greek heritage. They host what is said to be the largest Epiphany celebration in the Western Hemisphere. After a liturgical service at the Greek Orthodox Cathedral, the Archbishop leads a procession to Spring Bayou. A prayer is offered, a dove is released and the Archbishop throws a white cross into the water. Young men between the ages of sixteen and eighteen dive into the frigid water to try to retrieve the cross. The one who succeeds is said to have a special blessing. You can read about it more here.
Epiphany is also the twelfth day of Christmas.
Modern Day World-Travelers
My own world travelers were supposed to leave on their next adventure on Epiphany Day, but their travel was delayed — snow. My son and daughter-in-law were staying with her family in Goodlettsville, Tennessee, just north of Nashville, where they had celebrated Christmas. The day they were supposed to fly to Lisbon, Portugal, the Nashville area got a record-breaking snowfall, nearly six and a half inches. Definitely not good traveling conditions.
I’m happy to report they made it out the next day and I have confirmation they made it to Portugal. They will be there for about a month then they hope to spend time in Austria and I’m not sure where else (it’s hard keeping up with those two). I think the plan is to make it back to the states by fall and maybe buy a house and settle down. Who knows what may happen after that.
I’m excited about the prospect of them being back in Nashville, even though it’s far from my home. I’m excited to visit them and my daughter-in-law’s family. But, I don’t want to wish the time away. Something about being over sixty (by just a year, mind you) makes me want to slow time down, way down.
Another Kind Of Epiphany
In visiting with a dear friend in the waning days of 2021, I shared an epiphany I had experienced. My friend and I are in similar stages of life with similar situations. We each have two children who live in different states. Both of my children are married and by this spring, both of hers will be married. We hope to experience the joy of having grandchildren one day. If that happens, I realized, and she concurred, that unless our circumstances change, unless someone in the picture relocates, we will always be the other grandmother — the one who lives “over the river and through the woods”. It’s not what I expected or planned, but, the epiphany is that I’m at peace with that.
Of course, this is all hypothetical. Everything I just said could be thrown out the window if there’s ever a tiny human descendant living seven hundred miles away from me. Reality has a way of changing things.
How about you? Have you had any epiphanies lately? Did you celebrate Epiphany Day? When did you take your Christmas decorations down? I’d love to hear.