Monday, January 02, 2012

Epiphany reframes it

Cartoon from blog " Of course i could be all wrong"
e·piph·a·ny   [ih-pif-uh-nee] noun, plural -nies.
1. (Initial capital letter ) a Christian festival, observed on January 6, commemorating the manifestation of Christ to the gentiles in the persons of the Magi; Twelfth-day.

Epiphany is on it way. In addition to being the cap on the Advent season and 12 days of Christmas, it also happens to be my birthday. Normally, I love the fact that my birthday is connected to this time of celebration - but this year I already find myself a little melancholy over the fact that the big wrap up is on it's way.

It's been a great Advent and Christmas season so far. Both my husband and I work in youth ministry and we've spent many days during Advent working with youth on service projects in order to help them to give back. We've make Christmas cards, delivered them to a nursing home, visited a youth home, helped sort and organize gifts for kids and families and as Christmas day approached our group rang the bell and stood at the red kettle for the Salvation Army.

My work also includes working at an individual church where Advent and Christmas tend to be the busiest time of the Church year. There are festivals, special events, Sunday school pageants, mitten trees and special worship services to prepare and participate in. Needless to say when looking at this list of things I love, it's a busy time of year. As the Christmas worship services drew near, I was so excited for the upcoming holiday to be with friends and family and to enjoy all the baking and gift giving to come.

In the week between Christmas and New years, my family and I have had many home-made dinners, my husband and I have been on a few dates, we have spent time with good friends, I've read a good book and started another and I even finished a painting I'd been working on for months. This week of rest, fun and celebration moved so quickly, that it makes me long for just a little more time to soak it all in. I think moving towards Epiphany and my birthday are a reminder that this rich and joyous time is coming to a close. If I'm honest, I'm not quite ready to move past Advent and the 12 days of Christmas. I'd really like a little more time to ponder and celebrate. Wouldn't you?

Another definition of epiphany is: a sudden, intuitive perception of or insight into the reality or essential meaning of something, usually initiated by some simple, homely, or commonplace occurrence or experience.

In the predawn hours of this morning, I woke up to a foot of new snow outside my window. I got myself dressed in lots of layers and took my dog out for a jaunt in the untouched terrain. The night before, there was no snow. We've had an untypical snow free winter so far in Western NY up to today. I was impressed by the transformation of my outside world. Every single thing - including me and my dog - was covered and encased in a thick, clean layer of white. The whole world was reframed and looked brand new in the almost light of dawn.

This time - according to the calendar on the wall - for Christmas celebration is coming to a close by the end of this week. I'm even planning on going to an Epiphany party to have one last HURRAH for the holiday season. While it may be time to take down the tree, I don't think it's time to take the spirit of celebration away completely.

Just as my world was reframed by a foot ( and more to come) of snow falling, my daily life can be reframed by joy, hope and love all year long; if only I get out there to witness and take part in it. My melancholy comes from a place insisting that I pack up all the things I love about the holiday season.

While the way of celebrating life and love may change with the seasons, the acts of: taking time for rest, going on a date with my husband,doing service projects that make a difference and taking time for laughter with family and friends
are practices that should be a regular part of year long celebration in 2012.

May my snow inspired epiphany be one that lasts long after it melts away. May this epiphany be one that lasts 365 day long to fill a year with joy, hope and love in my life and those around me.

Happy New Year!



deb said...

Tara, years ago I started leaving one ornament out when I take down the tree, a star or a snow man or an angel - something not specifically Christmas-y to keep the holidays alive in spirit. I keep it on the kitchen window sill by the sink where I see it all the time. And my cat just decided to take down the tree all by herself - so I guess today's the day for cleaning up the holidays!! Happy New Year and I hope your Epiphany spirit remains

Tara Lamont said...

What a great idea. This year is the first I learned about the "Christmas pickle" ornament tradition ( You hide it on the tree and the first person to find it on Christmas morning gets to open a gift first and receive an extra gift.)
I got a pickle ornament in light of learning this - and I WILL keep it in my kitchen all year as you suggested.