Recently, some friends of ours have taken in Arland, a high school exchange student from Spain. We have gotten to know him and he has become a regular, knocking on my door Sunday mornings for a ride to church.
With Christmas coming, we had a conversation about different Christmas traditions. I tend to be rather impressed with how that side of the world celebrates Christmas, or rather Christ’s birth. Arland told me that in Spain they don’t celebrate on December 25. In Spain they have no Santa Claus. In Spain the focus isn’t as much in stockings and presents. He said he is really surprised at how much here we focus on Santa and all of those traditions.
“It is called Epiphany and is celebrated on 6th January. In Spanish, Epiphany is called ‘Fiesta de Los tres Reyes Mages’: in English this means ‘The festival of the three Magic Kings’. Epiphany celebrates when the Kings or Wise men brought gifts to the baby Jesus.” – taken from WHYCHRISTMAS.COM
In Spain they still receive gifts but instead of having the focus on some magical character, they still keep the true Christmas story, Jesus’s birth as the focus of their holiday. I really like that they use the true story, the wise men bringing gifts to Christ the saviour. This makes the story come to life and brings it into the present. Arland told me that on their “Christmas Eve” they gather on the shores of the Ocean to await the ship carrying the wise men to dock. These wise men who are on the way to see baby Jesus stop and hand out gifts to all the children in Spain.
I am so tempted to change our Christmas traditions to the traditions of Spain. Keep more focus on the story of Christmas and not the materialism that we have made it into. I know every year as the Christmas Season and New Years winds down I always make a pact with myself to bring Christ more into it the next year and not get so distracted with perfecting my tree, or giving the best gifts. This year I truly hope that Christmas of 2017 will be more about Christ then ever before. That my family will do more then take a few hours out of our family time, games and food on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day to truly praise God for giving us the greatest gift of all. The gift of Salvation, freedom and love through Jesus Christ.
I helped lead worship at our Christmas Eve service and we sang “How Many King by Downhere.” I think it best explains how truly lucky we are.
HOW MANY KINGS BY DOWNHERE:
Follow the star to a place unexpected
Would you believe, after all we’ve projected,
A child in a manger?
Lowly and small, the weakest of all
Unlikeliest hero, wrapped in his mother’s shawl
Just a child
Is this who we’ve waited for
How many kings step down from their thrones?
How many lords have abandoned their homes?
How many greats have become the least for me?
And how many gods have poured out their hearts
To romance a world that is torn all apart
How many fathers gave up their sons for me?
Bringing our gifts for the newborn Savior
All that we have, whether costly or meek
Because we believe.
Gold for his honor, and frankincense for his pleasure
And myrrh for the cross he will suffer
Do you believe?
Is this who we’ve waited for?
All for me
All for you