El Día de los Reyes is the highlight of the Christmas Season in Latin America. Advent is good, Christmas Eve is fantastic, but “on the twelfth day of Christmas my true love gave to me”…Three Kings Day! Also known as Epiphany, the season of enlightenment starts January 6 and lasts 5-9 weeks (depending on Easter). The word comes from the Greek verb phainein, which means “to appear”. It’s describes “an experience of sudden insight or revelation.” Coming from the story in the Gospel of Matthew, it describes the kings who saw the star and brought the gifts to honor Jesus. Check out the fantastic Drama from #urbana15 that illustrated this.
There are so many ways we celebrate this. Some of us can remember putting their gifts wishes in a shoe and the next morning the shoe appears on the top of the gift. Others of us filled small boxes with hay and bowl with water for hungry camels who’ve journeyed. It’s a long ride from the Europe, African and Middle East to Puerto Rico! Many will celebrate with a “Rosca de Reyes” (Kings’ Bread) which has a hidden Baby Jesus in it. If you find the baby Jesus in your portion of bread you get to throw another party in February. (Latinos love an excuse to feast.) Learn more about traditions.
As Christians, we can celebrate and we can look for ways to inhabit Epiphany by responding to the twofold call of Jesus: come and see, and go and tell. Like the original disciples, we are “to be with him, and to be sent out” (Mk 3:14). An Invitation and command are given to us in this season:
- Encounter God: See more Christ’s glory by focusing on his life and mission.
- Engage with Scripture
- Commune with him in prayer
- Gather in worship
- Break the Eucharistic bread in the community of believers
- Exhibiting Jesus: Making Christ’s glory better known to those around us. Our lives can point to Christ in many ways-our care for neighbors, our integrity at work, our hospitality at home, our generosity with money, our service to the poor, our concern for justice, our practice of forgiveness, our joy in worship, our hope in suffering. All of these reveal Christ’s presence in our lives. Jesus stressed two things:
- Proclaim the kingdom: communicate the message to others.
- Heal the sick: respond to their needs with compassion.
In Epiphany, we renew our willingness to let the light of Christ within us to courageously shine:
- Ask Jesus to increase your compassion and courage to speak about Christ.
- Become alert to openings where you can mention the centrality of your faith.
- Invite a neighbor to come to a social activity or worship gathering at your church.
Excerpts taken from Living the Christian Year: Time to Inhabit the Story of God by Bobby Gross (Jul 27, 2009), pg 80-94. (The book is so good I use it for worship planning in every season. It’s a must have).