Arise, shine, for your light has come,
and the glory of the Lord rises upon you.
See, darkness covers the earth
and thick darkness is over the peoples,
but the Lord rises upon you
and his glory appears over you.
Nations will come to your light,
and kings to the brightness of your dawn.
– Isaiah 60:1-3 (NIV)
Today is Epiphany, also known as the Feast of Lights or Three Kings Day.
It is the (real) traditional end of the Christmas season.
For the record once again, The Twelve Days of Christmas begin on December 25 and continue on. They are not the days leading up to Christmas.
Church traditions and calendars vary. That’s not what is important.
I just get a little disturbed at Christmas decorations appearing just after Labor Day and disappearing on December 26 when the season is clearly not over.
Don’t get me wrong, if you put up a live tree on Thanksgiving Friday, maybe waiting until the day after Christmas is a stretch. That’s another story.
Today we celebrate the day that recognizes God becoming man through the gift of his son Jesus. We are on the journey to the cross.
Many traditions celebrate this as Three Kings Day signifyng the visit of the Magi to the Christ child.
That’s right, it makes a pretty nativity scene, but they weren’t there until almost two years later.
Look, I’m neither qualified nor blessed with enough time to make this an extensive theology lesson. In fact, I probably should read up on it a good bit more.
How we celebrate is far less important than remembering the significance of the day. Sure, history tells us that Jesus wasn’t born on December 25, etc., etc., etc.
What is important is the fact that he came, and that the gift is not just for a cold day in December, it’s for the whole year round.
Even Ebeneezer Scrooge, when he understood, said, “”I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach!”
Go ahead. Take the tree down.
Just don’t forget why you put it up.