Today–when we celebrate Epiphany— is one of my favorite days in the liturgical calendar. It is the day I get to move the magi into the manger scene, and as a kid, I always loved rearranging, gazing on and meditating before the Nativity set we had under the tree.
In today’s homily, Fr. Tom told us about a friend of his from Peru who had never heard of Santa Clause until he got here to America. (Santa Claus is a very European tradition.) His family did not celebrate Christmas Day in the way we do here. They gathered, went to mass and had a wonderful feast dinner. But it wasn’t until Epiphany that they exchanged gifts. On the morning of Epiphany, the children would rise to find gifts from the magi who had been following the star searching for the Lord. The children would be told that when the magi came to the family’s house, the magi found the love of Christ so strong, they were sure that the Christ child was there, so they left gifts for Him….and those of course became what we would think of as Santa gifts.
Fr. Tom gave us homework. He told us to make Epiphany a day of gift-giving “from the heart. A day to give something of our faith to those we love–a Bible, a spiritual book, Rosary, whatever.” He said, “Wouldn’t that be something?”
Inviting gifts of the season by having a Christ-centered, loving home. An Epiphany gift given from the heart. Wouldn’t that be something?