Generous Orthodoxy  

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Latinos: The Twelve Days and Epiphany restored?

On NPR this morning I heard that Wal-Mart was going all out to woo its Hispanic customers for Three Kings Day. I am no Wal-Mart fan, quite the opposite, but wouldn't it be a relief if there were a counterweight in our American culture to the current holiday trends? More and more, we're seeing lights and inflatable Santas beginning in early November, and all or most of it taken down on the afternoon of Christmas Day, or very soon thereafter. The radio announcer this morning explained that Latinos celebrate Christmas for the whole of the Twelve Days and then go all out for Epiphany (Three Kings Day). Isn't there something here for all observant Christians to celebrate and emulate (minus the commercial emphasis)? The Feast of the Epiphany is such an extraordinarily beautiful celebration, with brilliant Scripture readings. Why lose it by conflating it into whatever Sunday comes nearest to it?

As for me, I have bought a Moravian Star of Bethlehem (used for Advent in the Moravian tradition) and we will hang it on our porch on the Feast of the Epiphany when our Christmas wreath comes down. I got this idea from the Neal Plantingas of Calvin College in Grand Rapids, who decorate beautifully for the Epiphany season. Their porch stars illuminate the dark Great Lakes winter night in a most heartening fashion.