Happy Three King’s Day!
The Polish man I married brought a whole host of Polish traditions to my very Scandinavian world. Dzien Trzech Kroli is what they call this 6th Day of January. My Polish Mother-in-law described the day as the last day of the Christmas season. It’s when they told the story of the kings that came to visit the child, Jesus, in Bethlehem. They brought gifts for a king—gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
In Poland, children would get gifts on only 2 days, St. Nicholas Day and 3 King’s Day. Earlier in the season the kids had helped string candy, cookies and nuts on the tree to decorate for Christmas and on 3 King’s Day the goodies were divided amongst the children while families took down all the Christmas decor, enjoying one last holiday meal together. This tradition is called “raiding the tree.” I had never heard of this until marrying into this family.
My friend is Spain told me that there is a big parade of kings through the streets on January 5th when the kings throw candy to the children. The children then leave out their best (and cleanest) shoes by the door, and in the morning (the 6th) they are filled with candy or small toys. My sister at church is from Puerto Rico and describes a similar celebration of kings there. So this is not just a Polish tradition.
I love hearing all these traditions, but a tradition has to have a meaningful story for it to make it into our family traditions. My grandma, Kristin Kjorlaug always had a story behind everything we did, and those stories have stuck with me all these years. So what’s the story here?
This is the part when the kings, the wisemen, tell us that Jesus really is a King! The celebration of His coming has passed and the visit from the wisemen a year or two later solidifies why He came and who He really was. They knew He was royalty and brought gifts that worshipped Him as royalty.
So how can we use our gifts to honor this King and tell His story?
It’s the only story worth telling over and over again. Jesus is the Hero in plain clothes, disguised in baby hair and skin, and sitting on his mother’s lap — waiting. “So let’s put our Christmas decorations away,” I’ll tell the kids, “because the next part of the story needs to be told. Easter is just around the corner and you will see what happens to this waiting King.”