If you’ve been following The REAL Twelve Days of Christmas series, you know that, although it’s mostly overlooked in our culture, Christmas Day is the beginning, not the end, of the Christmas season! Our family chooses to recognize the traditional twelve days. We’ve found that observing Advent in the days leading up to Christmas, and then celebrating Christmas for twelve days instead of one, gives us a real opportunity to slow down, immerse our family in, and focus on, what God has done and is doing all year long!
I’ve shared some background on Epiphany and how our family usually celebrates before. Depending on how the calendar falls in a particular year and what else is going on in our lives, some years we’re able to get a bit more elaborate and some we’re not. This year, we’re keeping it simple and low-key.
Here’s what this year looks like for our family:
Wrap up reading our twelve days of Christmas readings.
We’ll finish the new devotional we’ve been reading this year and The 12 Days of Christmas: The Story Behind a Favorite Christmas Song book that we read for the younger kids, along with the coloring pages they do.
Read a couple of favorite Epiphany stories.
Tomie dePaola has done a wonderful job of retelling a beloved European legend about Twelfth Night in The Legend of Old Befana. We love to read this one, along with his The Story of the Three Wise Kings. They’re both beautifully done, and the historical note at the beginning of Three Wise Kings briefly explains how the legends surrounding the original biblical account arose.
Watch The Star of Bethelehem documentary and discuss.
The documentary The Star of Bethlehem offers a fascinating theory about what the star really was! We rewatch it every year. This year, we’ll be discussing it with the older kids in contrast to the point of view given in The War on Christmas, which they both read during the Advent season. The documentary offers an astronomical explanation (orchestrated by God before time began), while the book posits that it was not an astronomical phenomenon, but simply a miracle that has no explanation, and offers brief critiques of some of the various theories. We’ll discuss the merits of each position and the historical background that we know regarding the magi and their connection to Daniel.
Celebrating and a family gift.
Since Epiphany this year coincides with all of our extracurricular activities, we won’t have the entire evening free for a celebration. We’ll have a special dessert (sometimes we do our own variation of a traditional King Cake) and watch a movie or play games together. If time allows we’ll begin to take down our Christmas decorations together.
Observing major days and seasons in the liturgical calendar doesn’t have to be involved or follow certain rules. It’s not a requirement or obligation. The point is not that we have to do something elaborate or anything in particular, but that we make a point to focus on what the season is about and how it informs the rest of the year. Christ’s birth and incarnation should influence how we live year round. Cultivating a biblical rhythm to our year to commemorate His birth, incarnation, death, resurrection, and ascension through Advent, Christmas, Good Friday, Easter, and Pentecost encourages us to focus on these foundational events and how they shape our lives. The calendar is simply a tool for us.
Does your family do anything special to recognize Epiphany?
Read the entire series here:
- The Twelve Days of Christmas and Epiphany: Celebrating “God With Us”
- Day One: A Partridge in a Pear Tree
- Day Two: Two Turtle Doves
- Day Three: Three French Hens
- Day Four: Four Calling Birds
- Day Five: Five Golden Rings
- Day Six: Six Geese A-Laying
- Day Seven: Seven Swans A-Swimming
- Day Eight: Eight Maids A-Milking
- Day Nine: Nine Ladies Dancing
- Day Ten: Ten Lords A-Leaping
- Day Eleven: Eleven Pipers Piping
- Day Twelve: Twelve Drummers Drumming
- Epiphany is Here!