I imagine that many people who work in the Church find it all too easy to fall into a lull immediately after Christmas. This is rather odd, upon reflection, since there is an incredible number of feasts and liturgical celebrations occurring during this time of the liturgical year. Nevertheless, after the big festivities of Christmas, the aftermath can sometimes seem anti-climactic.
And yet, the Episcopal Church’s authorized resources offer a number of ways in which to fully live into the richness of the remainder of the Incarnation Cycle following Christmas Day, which includes the season after Epiphany. One need only turn to The Book of Occasional Services (2003) to find these options following Christmas Day and through the season after Epiphany:
- A Service for New Year’s Eve (p.42): A procession of readings and collects that can be turned into a larger-scale service of a variety of forms.
- A form for the Blessing of Homes in Epiphany (p. 47): Wouldn’t this make an interesting event to enhance parish community life?
- A Vigil for the Eve of the Baptism of Our Lord (p. 51): This could be an interesting way of renewing the assembly’s baptismal vows, and perhaps including additional baptisms, confirmations, and renewal of baptismal vows by individuals.
- A Candlemas Procession (p. 53): The Feast of the Presentation of Our Lord Jesus Christ in the Temple is often neglected in the Church’s liturgical life, despite being one of the Episcopal Church’s major feasts. Why not dial up the liturgical splendor with a parish procession?
Devotion to the Book of Common Prayer can sometimes cause the neglect of other authorized resources provided by the Episcopal Church. If you’re looking for ways to enrich the liturgical life of your parish following Christmas Day, the Book of Occasional Services is a great place to start!
The Rev. Dr. Kyle Babin is Administrative Assistant for the Center for Liturgy and Music, a deacon in the Episcopal Church, and an M.Div. student at Virginia Theological Seminary.