Advent begins on the Sunday directly following Thanksgiving and continues for a total of four Sundays. Christmas day is then celebrated as separate “week” in liturgical tradition.
Epiphany is the celebration of the coming of the Maji. The Fest of the Epiphany is January 6th. Many Protestant churches then regard the following five to nine weeks (depending on the date of Easter for that year) as the season of Epiphany. Epiphany ends with Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent.
Below are some ideas adapted from Living the Christian Year, by Bobby Gross, for meeting Christ during the seasons of Advent and Epiphany. Pick just one or two of these that are realistic for your life and an encouragement for you.
- Spend some time in silence rereading the Christmas narrative in the gospels – whether for two hours or a day of retreat.
- Emphasize Christmas decorations that remind you of Christ, such a manger scenes.
- Get outdoors to enjoy the creation hallowed by Christ’s incarnation.
- Buy or make an Advent wreath and light the appropriate candle(s) at dinner each night.
- Light a candle and sit in silence for five minutes each day. Sit somewhere that allows you to enjoy your Christmas tree or a manger scene.
- Participate in an opportunity to give to someone in need through church or school.
- Plan one or two special activities to do with your children or your friends – such as a concert or a play.
- Keep your tree and decorations up until the end of the season, January 6th.
- Host a leftovers party on December 26th for friends or neighbors.
- Save some of your gift-giving for the twelve days of Christmas, especially, perhaps, for the Feast of the Epiphany.
May this Advent be one in which you are blessed with a renewed sense of the miracle of Christmas in the coming of the Savior.