Last night I sat in our living room admiring the beauty of the twinkle lights and the bright star shining atop our Christmas tree. I was reflecting on how Christmas Eve & Day did not “feel” like Christmas at all this year and I realized, “tomorrow is Día de los Reyes (Three Kings Day in English)” and marks the end of the Christmas season. How was I feeling like I missed it?
Well, there are a few reasons I was feeling that last night. In 2011 my dear mom-in-law passed away and that was our first Christmas Eve without her. In 2013 my beloved Gran-Mamá was moved from Chicago (our hometown where we usually spend Christmas) to GA/FL near my mother. Every Christmas Day was spent at Mamá’s house where we ate pasteles, arroz con gandules, and tembleque which are typical Puerto Rican Christmas foods. She was a wonderful cook! And this Christmas was yet another first. It was the first one without our daughter who didn’t make it into Chicago from NE because of a snowstorm that put her smack in the middle of a four car pile-up, five hours from us…on Christmas Eve! We are very thankful because, although her car was totaled, she is okay. For the first time since having our children, we did not get to read the Christmas story together while sitting under our Christmas tree after the long drive back to our home. Everything, EVERYTHING, was different this year. But enough of the sad stuff!
As I thought about today being Día de los Reyes, I was reminded of stories my 89 year old Mamá told me about when she was a little girl. Her stories of Las Posadas in the town she grew up were so vivid. “We would walk from house to house singing and picking up people as we walked along with a couple dressed as Mary and Joseph looking for a place to stay. The final house would be the party house,” she recalled. They would have cookies she called “florecitas” and punch. And she told me that on La Vispera de Reyes (the Eve of Three Kings Day) she and her siblings would gather grass to place in their shoes for the camels, because the Kings rode camels on their journey to see the baby Jesus. In the morning they would wake up and there would be little toys and trinkets in place of the grass. She spoke of those memories so fondly and I began to smile as I remembered her stories.
Three Kings Day is also known as Epiphany (the twelfth night of Christmas). ‘Epiphany’ comes from the Greek epiphaneia which means an appearing to man, referring to the Christ child being revealed to the world. As I sit here in my living room again, looking at the Nativity under the tree, I am contemplating the greatness of God’s love for us. This is what Christmas is about. It’s not about the cookies I didn’t make, the people I didn’t see, the presents I didn’t buy, it’s about God’s profound love for us. I am “feeling” Christmas now. I am smiling. If you “missed” Christmas there’s still time. In fact, it can last all year! 🙂
Have a blessed day my friends. I’m going to go make some “arroz con gandules” now!
Mamá’s tembleque, jamon, arroz con gandules and pasteles. The best food ever!