Epiphany is a mixed blessing. It’s a great feast, and a picturesque one. Most depictions of the Nativity show the Maji presenting their gifts to the Christ child, rather than the shepherds paying homage.
But it’s also the twelfth day of Christmas. In my books, that the cue to pack up the Christmas lights, dispose of the Christmas tree, and dismantle the crib. No more “Merry Christmas” greetings, no more carols, no more egg nog. This was certainly the greatest recurring trauma of my childhood, and it still stings.
Not everyone agrees with me though. There are some who insist that the Christmas season continues until the Baptism of the Lord, so they’ll keep their tree up until then. Die-hards wait out until the Feast of the Presentation, some forty days after Christmas.
Now I love my Christmas tree, but I’m not that dedicated. I came down with a cold this Christmas — like I seem to do every Christmas — and online research exposed Christmas tree mould as a likely culprit. I don’t want to exhibit flu-like symptoms all the way through January!
Nonetheless, purists will point out that the Vatican keeps its tree up until the Presentation. End of argument, right?
Not so fast! Flashback to 2011:
I know one priest who has adopted something like this as his planned approach this year. The Christmas tree and decorations will be removed after today. The crib will stay until the Feast of the Presentation, which this year happens to fall on a Sunday. Not a bad idea. I might remember that for the future.
But as for now, I’m putting Christmas behind me. Sigh.