Wouldn’t it be great if Christmas lasted longer than one day? Actually, the Christmas season lasts from December 25 all the way until the feast of Jesus’ baptism in early January. But many Christians do some of their biggest Christmas celebrating and merrymaking on the Feast of the Epiphany. That’s when we remember the visit of the Magi [MAIGE-eye], or wise men, to baby Jesus.
Why is this feast important? Think of it this way. When you were born, people probably came to visit. You probably weren’t aware of it at the time, but having visitors is one way your parents showed the world you had arrived. We see the Magi’s visit in the same sort of way. Because they traveled a long way to see Jesus, their visit marked a special moment when God revealed his Son to the whole world!
But who were the Magi anyway? The Bible tells us these mysterious visitors came “from the East” to Jerusalem, looking for the newborn king. They followed a star to Bethlehem until it stopped “over the place where the child was.” The Magi were thrilled and happy to see Jesus, and they brought gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. These “kingly” presents are the reasons many people exchange gifts on the Epiphany. Another fun Epiphany tradition is a dessert called king cake. A bean or coin is baked inside, and whoever gets it is declared “king” for the day. Some families even make a gift of their king cake by cutting an extra slice to share with the first visitor who comes to the door.
So go ahead and make it a fun day at your house. Let it remind you to keep the joy of Jesus’ birth in your heart all year long.
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CONNIE CLARK is a freelance writer and editor of Living Faith Kids. Visit ConnieClark.org.
This article was originally published in Catechist magazine, January 2018