My Christmas daybook for these 12 days of celebrating. We'll be spending Christmastide with some favorite short films and video clips. Join me, won't you?
Note: If you're reading this in email, the formatting usually looks much better at the website. Just click the post title to get there.
What a joy it’s been to mark the weeks of Advent and Christmas together. I’m grateful for your companionship and encouragement along the way!
As we enter the season of Epiphany, may you continue to walk in the light as He is in the light. You can read a bit more about the liturgical history of Epiphanytide here. Essentially, we walk through the accounts of Christ’s life between his birth and before his Passion with emphasis on the moments Christ was revealed (made manifest) as the Son of God. If the Incarnation is about God becoming man, Epiphany is about God’s marking this man Jesus as a divine Son, sent to reveal God to us. Get ready for some of the most beautiful, captivating accounts of Christ’s life, teaching, and healing in the coming six weeks. Celebrate that Christ came and moved into the neighborhood!
I’ve included a giant list of ideas for you to celebrate the weeks of Epiphany. Pick one or more to share with friends or family in the coming weeks. (I’ll refer back to them again in my Sunday Daybook posts). In much the way the Magi remind us that Christ was given to all peoples, it’s important to recognize that , for much of the world, the Feast of Epiphany is celebrated with much more fanfare than Christmas Day. This is a great time to learn about their traditions.
May you know the light and walk in the light in the coming weeks,
p.s., I’d love to hear your Advent and Christmas highlights. Drop me a comment to share !
Watch & Do for Twelfth Night and Epiphanytide:
Throw a Twelfth Night Party! We attended one last night and have friends who do this every year. It’s a chance to shout a last hurrah for Christmas. Old tradition in England included wassailing, as in “here we come a-wassailing!”. (Maybe you want to make mulled cider one more time?). Friends of ours in Austin are holding Twelfth Night bonfires and inviting friends to bring their Christmas trees for the fire.
Sing or listen to various versions of the carol “We Three Kings”. Here’s a classic orchestration by Eugene Ormandy with a montage of images of the Magi from around the world. Here’s a beautiful instrumental jazz version from Wynton Marsalis Septet performed at Carnegie Hall in 1991.
Read or listen to a performance of T. S. Eliot’s” The Journey of the Magi”. If you’re an Alec Guiness fan, you can’t go wrong with this version (which includes text)> Here’s a dramatic reading I found compelling. Here’s an quality version performed by Denis Adide and shot in locations around Bristol.
Read the Matthew account of the Magi. Here’s a well-done compilation with the text of the account with scenes from the movie The Birth of Jesus. Here’s a dramatized version with Scripture narration. For a movie adaptation of the Luke and Matthew accounts, here’s the Visit of the Shepherds and the Magi scene from the Catherine Hardwick's film "The Nativity Story" (2006). (Here’s a 15 minute edit of the magi scenes from the entire movie.)
Learn more about the theories of the history of the wise men: Mystery of the Magi, 3 Wise Men: Ancient Magicians?, and, my favorite from the Smithsonian Channel, How to Understand the Three Wise Men, Frankincense & Myrrh.
Pray for Bethlehem: O Little Town of Bethlehem, Celebrating Christmas in Bethlehem, What Do Jews In Israel Think About Jesus Christ the Messiah?, Historic Bethlehem Now A Modern Mix of Cultures, Bethlehem, Palestine: Church of the Nativity.
Chalk the Doors & pray an Epiphany House Blessing: watch here and here for explanations from a couple of Protestant pastors and here for a video demonstration from a Catholic mom: Epiphany Part 1: House Blessing. You can find prayers here or print out a larger prayer service adapted from various sources that leads you to pray through each room of your home: Feast of the Epiphany.
Make paper crowns (free printable!) and King’s Cake: An Easy DIY King’s Cake or 3 Kings Cake for Rosca De Reyes - A Traditional bread to celebrate Feast of Epiphany.
Learn about Three King’s Day celebrations from around the world. Consider making international dishes from any of these countries. Three Kings Parade (Madrid), Lin-Manuel Miranda Explains the Magic of Three Kings Day (Puerto Rico/New York), Epiphany Celebrated In Catholic and Orthodox Churches (Rome, Istanbul, Sofia), Epiphany Celebration (Italy), Orthodox Christians Celebrate Epiphany/Prepare for Christmas (Bulgaria, WBank, Turkey). (Can you imagine joining that celebration in Bulgaria?!?)
Remember your baptism! During Epiphany we remember Jesus’ baptism and it’s a good season to renew our own baptism vows -- whether in your corporate worship service or in your family and personal prayer time. May I recommend this post from my son's baptism? It includes the Anglican baptism liturgy, but applicable for all followers of Christ. Or you can be brave and join the Eastern Europeans: Icy dip: Russians plunge into freezing waters on Epiphany, Brave Muscovites plunge icy waters to celebrate Epiphany, and Putin takes traditional Epiphany dip in icy lake .
Go stargazing (and if you can’t get a clear night, watch this!). Make paper stars! Here’s a lovely tutorial: Origami Christmas Star/Star of Bethlehem/ 8-point Star.
Keep twinkle lights and candles glowing in and outside your home right up until Candlemas (also known as the Feast of the Presentation)! Here’s a lovely write-up from The Homely Hours about the meaning of Candlemas and a family liturgy printable for Candlemas. I also love this idea for creating a candlelit prayer walk. Here’s a tutorial for building a beautiful snow lantern.