Where Are You Christmas?

I took the Christmas decorations down today, which consisted of removing the Christmas tree of lights from the wall, packing up the Nativity and taking down the various coloring pages I did through Christmas & Epiphany. Except for one, which I like so much I’m keeping it around for awhile.

I had mixed feelings about this. I *really* wanted to stick with ALL THE CHRISTMAS through Candlemas, follow the lead of Sybil MacBeth and relish the season of Epiphany but I was also really longing to change things up a bit. I kept humming “Where Are You Christmas?” while I thanked the Nativity figurines for another season’s service. As I prepared tonight’s dinner for the slow cooker, I listened to some pop songs… not my Christmas playlist.  A change of scene seemed so appealing. Then I remembered that Sybil doesn’t suggest staying in Christmas mode the whole time — she suggests honoring Epiphany as its own season — changing everything to white, for example. Inviting the Kings to teach you a little about evangelization, for another.

So I kept one string of Christmas lights hanging (which is really nothing out of the ordinary for me), and made a star out of white lights where the tree was. I took my little jar of frankincense, gold and myrrh and placed it in the wreath on the table with Mary holding Jesus. I’m thinking about Lent, how I’ll get some purple ribbons for the wreath that was an Advent wreath that will become something else – perhaps just a place to hold some sacred thoughts.

I can see Lent on the horizon, and in the meantime the landscape is changing, transitioning through this “Ordinary Time.”

Star of Wonder...
Star of Wonder…
Gifts for Baby Jesus
Gifts for Baby Jesus

 

 

Epiphany, Almost

The Magi haven’t quite made it to the Creche in my house – it will be a few more days journey for them. In many churches today, however, the Christmas season ends today with the Epiphany of the Lord. The Magi are finally here!  Life can return to normal!

It’s a little unfortunate. On this day, we have two more days until the 6th of January, the traditional date of Epiphany. However, the world feels a little weary of Christmas — and no wonder, since we started celebrating back in November! Christmas breaks are over for schools, preparation has begun to re-enter Ordinary Time – by tomorrow, the green will return in the cloths of the Church. What makes me sad about this is that there is nothing Ordinary about today, or next Sunday, or the Sunday after that. These next Sundays are all about the Theophany – the manifestation of the Incarnation. In other words, we see the signs of the Incarnation — we see signs that this man, Jesus, is God.

I think this season deserves more than Ordinary Green. Perhaps, though, that is another lesson for the pilgrim. Perhaps the Ordinary is the time to look deeper to the Extraordinary.

There is a tradition to this day that I’d like to share: The Blessing of the House. Perhaps this came about because of the detailed story of the Magi entering the House where Jesus was, but whatever the origin, it’s nice to take a moment to bless the house and it’s inhabitants, isn’t it? Often a church will bless chalk that will then be brought home & you then write your own blessing above the door:  20 + C + M + B + 15. (In some Eastern churches, the Priest journeys from home to home to bless them personally! It can take awhile.)

C + M + B symbolizes Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar, the traditional names of the Three Wise Men. It also means Christus Mansionem Benedicat, Latin for “May Christ Bless this House.”

Perhaps you don’t have any blessed chalk, or perhaps your Church does not observe this traditions. No worries. I’m here to help. If you’d like a blessing for your home, I’ve made one you can print.

It looks like this:

Epiphany Home Blessing
Epiphany Home Blessing

You can download a full-sized 8×10 version here. If you just want the year part, just trim the bottom off. For alternative prayers to use when blessing your home, check out the ecumenical Liturgy site.

So go, pilgrim, and bless your house. I’ll be back on Tuesday with my Magi.