I approached the New Year this January with a lot of cherished excitement: 2018 had its share of challenges, and I reveled in the freshness that a blank slate brings. Thoroughly enjoying the Christmas octave, I had to be honest and admit that although I’d had a mostly peaceful Advent, I had not fully taken advantage of all of the available spiritual opportunities. I had become distracted the closer we came to Christmas Eve, and worried over whether or not all of the items on my to-do list were going to get completed and/or purchased. I did manage to squeeze in a trip to Confession, but is that really the best I could do? Of course not.
Now that the New Year is here, my husband and I took a weekend trip, just the two of us, to celebrate our early-January wedding anniversary. We’ve taken this same trip before, and one constant is attending the Saturday evening vigil Mass together. The local parish is conveniently located right across the street from the quaint inn we love to stay in. Whenever we take this anniversary trip, it is inevitably the feast of the Epiphany being celebrated at that vigil Mass, due to the way the dates work out.
To be sure, I love the feast of the Epiphany, for so many different reasons. With my given name of “Tiffany,” I use Epiphana as my saint name, and thus celebrate Epiphany as my feast day. I imagine the scene of the wise men arriving in Bethlehem, and the joyous fellowship that followed, with so much happiness. My kids and I enjoy moving the wise men in our personal nativity set closer and closer to the Holy Family as December wanes and January dawns. Every year, I reflect on that wondrous encounter, the brightly shining star, and imagine the possibilities that await me and my family in this earthly life and beyond. The Epiphany always fills me with hope and expectant joy.
This year, as my husband and I sat in that adorable parish for Mass (named for St. Thomas More, another favorite of mine!), I was struck by a sense of peace. Despite not living up to what I wanted to do for Advent, God makes all things new. I have a beautiful stretch of winter Ordinary Time ahead of me to plan for Lent, and this year, my very first full year having a teenager in my house, I want to plan some devotions that will be meaningful to both of us. As well, my husband and I are planning to keep up with what I’m calling “casual date nights” and make it a priority to carve out time for the two of us every single month. It’s easy as the kids get older, and their time commitments to after school activities increases, to lose sight of that.
This year holds a lot of promise, both spiritual and otherwise. The Epiphany reminds me of that, and inspires me anew. I can carry that with me throughout the rest of the calendar year.
Do you have a favorite winter season devotion? Is the Epiphany special to you in some way? I would love to hear about it in the comments!
Copyright 2019 Tiffany Walsh