Today is 3 Kings day, not well known, but a neat day! Christmas isn’t over for our family until we celebrate 3 Kings Day on January 6th. The kids love this day because they get to raid the tree as we are taking down the decorations, which basically means that they can take all the candy off the tree and add it to their stash. Three King’s day is a Polish tradition (Dzien Trzech Kroli in Polish), and I’ve read that it is also a big day for Hispanic cultures. We read some Polish stories and there are 3 small presents left under the tree for each kid. Before they can open them, we talk about the Wisemen that came to find Jesus when he was a year or two (which is why the day is celebrated after Jesus’ birthday) and how we don’t actually know if it was 3 men. We explain that the three gifts they brought were for a king that would die. This is also when we move the wisemen close to the Nativities in our house and read the wisemen part of the Christmas story. Talking about royalty also opens up the conversation about which people are in the family of God and what God calls these sons and daughters of the King. Another chance to share the gospel. Then they open their 3 presents. I love finding items that have to do with royalty – prince, princess, guard, etc. But the gifts we pick are ones that encourage their imagination (like dress up) or a skill, or something that has to do with stars, kings, traveling, or one of the 3 gifts.
We have the privilege of living near a town called Bethlehem and so it has been our tradition to make hot chocolate and drive to find the star Bethlehem has lit on a high hill. Bethlehem also has a beautiful huge Nativity that we go look at. Not everyone has a Bethlehem nearby but there are several activity ideas that involve looking for a star. Maybe you buy a battery lit star that you hide at different friends’ houses each year or hide a star in the house or yard. I’ve also seen families make crowns for their kids to wear for the day so they can pretend they are the wisemen following the star. This is also our day to honor some Polish traditions as I mentioned in a previous entry. Interestingly enough, 3 Kings Day is 12 days after Christmas and is the original reason for counting the 12 Days of Christmas. One year we did the 12 best all time favorite Christmas movies, one each day, savoring the last bit of Christmas before the decorations came down. I’ve pondered several different ideas for these 12 days but didn’t get to any of them this year. We’ve loved this day and are sad when it’s gone. And so a last Merry Christmas to you all…for a year.