When I decided to have a (vaguely) Muppety party for Atticus, I thought it would be a good idea to put the words “Muppet party” into Pinterest. It was not a good idea. I wanted things like guaca-wokka-wokka-mole, but instead there were elaborate parties with details I could not hope to duplicate. It took a while for me to get myself out of the fetal position.
Because I am not a party planner, I have it in my head that I am not good at celebrating. That I don’t like it. (I don’t, after all, like things that I am not good at.) I have a friend who celebrates extravagantly, sweeping everyone along with her. I admire her, but I know that I cannot do what she does. It has taken me a while to see that my bookish, nerdy, introverted ways of celebrating are valid, too.
Parenthood has helped (forced) me to try new things. That tendency I have to research a topic to death has a new focus: creating ritual for our family. Mike is game for anything, happy for me to test my ideas. Instead of rolling his eyes, he thanks me for being intentional.
This is how we ended up standing outside the front of our house on Sunday morning, Epiphany, with pieces of chalk in our hands. “Why are we doing this?” asked Mike. I gave him a fumbling answer about the Wise Men, who were the first non-Jewish people to celebrate the birth of Jesus, how something about that open door has touched my heart.
If I had been smart enough to prepare something to read, it would have been like this: We write this to remind ourselves that our home is a place of light, and that we should share that light and be hospitable. We write it to bless our home for the coming year. We write it to remind ourselves that the birth of Jesus is for everyone. We can enter in the story just as the Wise Men did.
We did not pray or sing. I gave my reasons and Mike nodded. And then we chalked.
Caspar, Melchior, Balthazar
Christus mansionem benedicat. May Christ bless this house.
Later we took the chalk outside again and drew stars and fish and birds and people. I realized then that I may not be able to create cake pops that look like Fozzie or have the wherewithal to purchase vintage Muppet posters, but I believe that play is holy work and I want my house to show it. I will try to remember to add that to my speech next year. Or maybe I’ll just wing it again.
Happy Epiphany, friends.
For Christmas, I received the book To Dance with God by Gertrud Mueller Nelson. It covers the ways that she and her family and friends have created traditions that celebrate the holidays of the Christian church. Her family does quite a lot, but there is no judgment in the book. She is simply offering ideas for you to choose what might work for your own family. I enjoyed it a lot and recommend it as a resource for anyone interested in celebrating the church calendar with your family. My friend Kristen also has a lot of resources on her blog on celebrating the church calendar in your home. Here’s her post on Epiphany.