We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand. ~Isaiah 64:8

Monday, January 4, 2010

How to end the Christmas Season in style!

Don't let the Christmas season just fizzle away into the Super Bowl or Valentine's hysteria. End it in style with an Epiphany celebration!

Wednesday is the end of the Christmas season and the beginning of the season of Epiphany. This Feast and Season commemorates the visit of the Wise Men or Magi to the Christ Child. Contrary to popular imagery, they most likely arrived in Bethlehem when Jesus was a toddler. Whatever the case, we recognize this also as a season that looks forward to the Gospel being shared with the whole world.

Crafts and Activities
:-: If you have kids who like to color here are some coloring pages to print.

:-: You might also make some paper crowns and let the kids decorate them with glitter and such.

:-: Make tin can lanterns (clean and remove labels from tin cans, fill with water and freeze, when hard use a hammer and nail to make a punched-tin design, let water melt, put in a candle and you've got a lantern!)

:-: The website Catholic Culture has some wonderful information, too. Be sure not to miss the items (recipes, prayers, activities) in the drop-down menus in the top bar.

:-: Have an "undecorating" party and take down all your Christmas decorations.

:-: Perhaps a small gift for the kids (a leftover one from Christmas or that one item they wanted but didn't get or a new calendar - they are cheap this time of year). In many cultures, it is traditional to give gifts on Epiphany rather than Christmas.

Home Blessing
This is a simple service for families. Start with Chalking the Door. Gather your family at the front door with a piece of chalk and say the following prayer together (or your own):

God bless this house,
From door to door,
From wall to wall,
From room to room,
From basement to roof,
From beginning to end.

God bless this house
and who enter here,
All who eat here,
All who work here,
All who play here,
All who sleep here,
All who visit here,
All who abide here.

(from a wonderful little book: The Anglican Family Prayer Book by Anne E. Kitch)

Then make the marks on your front door: 20+C+M+B+10. Each person can write a small part of that, or you can let an adult write the whole thing with the kids each making their own small cross somewhere on the door. (We find this easiest with little kids.) The C,M,B traditionally stands for the legendary names of the Magi (Caspar, Melchior, and Balthazaar); however, I like the alternate: Christus Mansionem Benedicat which means "May Christ bless this dwelling." The numbers are for the year (2010).

Now, you can walk through the house with lighted candles (or just the adults) and Holy Water, if you wish, saying prayers for each room's occupants and activities. My kids like to make little crosses on all the interior doors, too. Perhaps end your "tour" in the kitchen or dining room with a candlelight dinner, tea or dessert.

There aren't a lot of different foods associated with Epiphany. Most are variations on the Three Kings' Cake (for example this King Cake recipe). No time for a cake, how about star-shaped cookies or treats?

What is your favorite way to celebrate Epiphany?


Amy said...

Thanks for the links- -especially for the coloring pages! I'm using them. :)

We are looking forward to our Epiphany celebration tomorrow!

Amy said...

Thanks for posting! I'm a bit behind but managed to put together my posts on epiphany today!!! I linked to yours.

Many blessings to you.


evenshine said...

Great ideas....though I may have to save up for that prayer book. Amazing how much they want for even the used copies!