One of my favorite hymns is “I Sing a Song of the Saints of God” by Lesbia Scott. If you’re not familiar with it, you can listen to it here, as you read the rest of this post. In the Episcopal/Lutheran Church I belong to, we always sing this hymn in early November – in celebration of All Saints Day.
Today, obviously, isn’t All Saints Day, but stick with me. I’ll get back to why I even brought it up. In the meantime, let’s talk about what today IS – Epiphany. According to about.com:
Epiphany, also known as “Three Kings Day” and “Twelfth Day,” is a Christian holiday commemorated on January 6. It falls on the twelfth day after Christmas, and for some denominations signals the conclusion of the twelve days of the Christmas season.
The word epiphany means “manifestation” or “revelation” and is commonly linked in Western Christianity with the visit of the wise men (Magi) to the Christ child. Through the Magi, Christ revealed himself to the gentiles.
In short, it’s a big day for The Church. One of my long-time Epiphany rituals is to pack-up my Christmas decorations. So it’s the day I make a physical, spiritual and emotional shift from waiting for something magnificent to happen (Advent) to celebrating that something magnificent has happened (Christmas) to stepping back into The Real World (the Church season after Epiphany is called Ordinary Time).
Now, back to singing a song of saints. The modern Christian church honors its official Saints on the anniversary of that Saint’s death. Today is also the second anniversary of my sister’s death. Like way too many people, cancer took Mari way.too.soon. I spent last January 6 in a major funk. I’m not going to do that this year. Starting today, I’m going to honor Mari by celebrating her. As I take down my Christmas decorations, I’ll listen to her favorite kind of music – country. I’ll remember the great times she and I shared and all that she taught me. I’ll laugh, cry and sing. I’ll vacuum, leaving the telltale ridges in my carpet that Mari loved. After my home is ready for Ordinary Time, I’ll fix Mari’s favorite meal – seared sea scallops with fire roasted asparagus & tomatoes.
Yep, this year I’m celebrating a new holy day – EpiphaMari.
How do you celebrate those you love?