The Three Wise Men make the Christmas season a bit longer
It's crazy but the Christmas music around here stopped on December 26th. I joked with a fellow usher at the January 1st mass ("day of obligation as my parents say") that our church was the only place in town singing about Christmas.
I guess that Christmas for me runs longer than December 26th. It’s hard to change old habits.
We don't celebrate January 6th -- the Epiphany -- the way we did as kids. Back in Cuba, we would go to bed early on January 5th and wait for The Three Wise Men to leave us some gifts. Once in the U.S., we kept the tradition but didn't go to bed early anymore. We just exchanged some gifts in the morning and enjoyed a family breakfast.
Why do so many kids all over the Spanish-speaking world wake up on January 6th and look for their presents?
First, it's what our ancestors brought to Cuba from Spain. As my grandfather from Asturias, Spain, used to say, we had a big meal on December 24th, went to midnight mass and then ate again on December 25th. And then we got ready for "Los Reyes" or the Three Wise Men.
Second, it is a story right out of the Bible:
"When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 11On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped Him. Then they opened their treasures and presented Him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh. 12And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route."
This is not a cheap shot at Santa Claus, but it was the "wise men" who brought gifts to the baby Jesus.
Don't misunderstand. I have nothing against Santa Claus, "Jingle Bell Rock" or Christmas office parties. I love them too.
I'm just saying that the story of The Three Wise Men is about the baby Jesus and that's what Christmas is really all about. This is why I love the Three Wise Men story so much. This is why I'm thankful that I grew up hearing the story.
Happy January 6th to all of my Spanish friends who grew up opening their gifts today.
P.S. You can listen to my show (Canto Talk).