Sunday, January 6, 2013

Savoring Christ on the Feast of His Epiphany

It's the Feast of the Epiphany of our Lord Jesus Christ!  Today, our family choose to savor Christ's precious gift of His coming into the world to save us by celebrating The Feast of His Epiphany or which was popularly known as Feast of the Three Kings through simple family traditions.

We started a family tradition last year that we chose to continue today.  After the kids said their morning prayers, I read them the story of Christmas story again from Yanthy's First Bible which recounted how the three wise men journeyed and followed the star of Bethlehem to find the Newborn King.  We also read again The Christmas Star book which was part of our Christmas countdown.  Then, we made crowns for my boys -- Mateo, Yanthy and George. Yes, my husband included! :)  I asked them what color they would like for their crown and we got some colored papers and made a paper crown for each of them.  Mateo had a yellow crown.  Yanthy had a white crown.  My husband, George, had a blue crown.  Once their crowns were ready, I took pictures of them wearing their crowns and holding some gifts. They said that Mateo is Melchor, Yanthy is Caspar and George is Balthasar.

The 3 kings in my life.

Yanthy last year with his gift to his playmate.
Last year, Yanthy went to our neighbor's house and delivered a gift to his playmate/friend wearing his crown.  This year, I've decided that we will prepare three brown bags for three street kids that we will encounter on our way to church to hear Mass.  This is similar to what we did on Christmas Day this year.  (You may read about this more on my blog post Give Love on Christmas Day: Our New Family Tradition.)  It's our own way of continuing the tradition of the three wise men or three kings who brought gifts to the Baby Jesus.  Since Jesus said that whenever we give food to the hungry or needy around us, it's as if we are also giving food to Him, we believe that we are offering these gifts to Jesus as well.

 This was Yanthy last year coloring our Star of Bethlehem and showing it after he colored it.

Wise Yanthy with his gift
on the Feast of the Epiphany this year.

We will also bless our chalk and write on the lintel of our main door using it.  This tradition is done as a way of entrusting our home and its inhabitants to Christ, praying for His protection and favor, asking for His blessings this new year, through the intercession of the three wise men.  Then, we will make our own Christmas star.

My high energy child suddenly becoming calm come painting time.

Our Christmas star painted by Yanthy this year.

Let me share the following prayers in case you'd like to adapt this same tradition in your family every Feast of the Epiphany of our Lord or Three Kings.
O Lord God, bless this chalk that it may be used for the salvation of the human race.

Through the invocation of Thy most Holy Name, grant that whoever shall take of this chalk and write with it upon the doors of his house the names of Thy saints, Caspar, Melchor and Balthasar, may through their merits and intercession receive health of body and protection of soul. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
This is what we will write later after our chalk is blessed.

20 + C + M + B + 13

        The number designates the new year, while the ‘CMB’ stands for the traditional
        names of the wise men – Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar – and also the
        prayer Christus mansionem benedicat which means ‘May Christ bless this
        dwelling’.  (Cf. Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy, 118)

After we hear Mass, we will give the gift of time and play to two of God's precious gifts to me and my husband, our kids.  We will let them play for an hour in a play center. We will play with them and savor their company recognizing that they are manifestations of God's presence and love to us.

Happy Feast of the Epiphany of our Lord to you and your families!  May you recognize Christ just like the three Magi/Wise Men today and every day of the new year!

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