Is that the greeting? Happy Epiphany? I don’t know what it ought to be but it certainly feels that way. The date caught me by surprise yesterday, but somehow getting things done wasn’t so heavy. It helps that the children are older and I don’t have to do too much “magic” the way I used to when they were very little. They weren’t interested in helping to put the ornaments away, but they kept me company. I don’t mind this task. It’s a mini backward review of the Christmas that just was, and all those past, and there’s a hopefulness about the one that is to come. I remember, as I take each one off the tree, the pleasure of meeting them again after one year, and the flood of memories that moment brings.
When the tree was finally bare except for the candles, we lit it for the last time. I was a bit worried as the tree was already so dry, but my older son decided he would be the guardian of the tree and kept a spray bottle handy (can you find him in the photo below :p ?). It eventually became a game for him. When the candle was all liquid wax, he would spritz from afar and somehow extinguish it. Out of his own initiative, he would put each candle holder on the table until, at last, the tree was as bare as the day it came to us. My little one (not-so-little at 8 — 9 in a few months!) decided to bring out the Christmas songs and started the singing. Thus we ended Christmas.
After they went to bed, I did the yearly routine of removing everything from our Nativity table; only Mary, Joseph and the Christ Child (now in Mary’s arms) remained, surrounded by the Three Kings beneath a big red star. When they awoke this morning, we lit our star candle as I recited a verse for Epiphany and told them a story from the book, “Stories for the Festivals of the Year” by Irene Johanson. My youngest did a quick check to see if, indeed, the Christmas tree had left our home. It had. They came down to a breakfast of star-shaped cinnamon toast.
Last night, before I slipped into dreamland, I asked to be guided so that I could be the mother my children need and deserve. The ease with which I prepared for this festival reminded me that we so often forget to ask for help when it is right there, waiting for us to holler. There is a star that guides and all it takes is to remember to look above and trust again, to follow the light that now resides in us. Epiphany blessings to all.