Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Emphasis on Epiphany

Epiphany has always held wonder and magic for me. I love that in the church we celebrate the 12 days of Christmas and the tree does not come down right away, not even on New Years Day! Instead we recognize the delayed arrival of the magi. This helps to emphasize the significance of their part in the nativity narrative. The Messiah, the king of kings and lord of lords, is not just for the people of Israel. He is for all peoples to the ends of the earth!

So, if you are like me and want to linger in the light of the star of Bethlehem and ponder the significance of our savior's birth, then I encourage you to dwell in Epiphany. To sit in awareness of what an epiphany is, the manifestation of the divine. And maybe, just maybe, God will grant you a moment of sudden revelation into the amazing love he has for his creation.

I have created a praying in color sheet called Epiphany Prayers. It is for a short season, 10 days, but enough time to linger. Use the stars to pray for loved ones, yourself or give thanks and praise. You can download it for free by clicking on Epiphany Prayers.

I also found a nice coloring sheet for my faith book at bible-printables.com of the Wise Men. There are a few different designs in the Christmas section.

Another way to reflect is through Bible Journaling. Verses to look at are the Wise Men story in Matthew 2, the Bethlehem Star in Numbers 24:17 and Isaiah 60:1. If you have not heard of bible journaling I have an explanation under Visual Faith Resources tab or visit the Illustrated Faith website.

Some other suggestions for celebrating Epiphany are influenced by Sybil MacBeth's "The Season of the Nativity." To learn more about Praying in Color visit her website prayingincolor.com  You can also find her books there.

Celebrate Epiphany by:

* Read the story of the Wise Men in Matthew 2:1-2
* Just now let your nativity Wise Men figures arrive at the stable creche.
* Look up online why they brought gold, frankincense and myrrh.
* Make and decorate crowns to wear or display.
* Read T.S. Eliot's poem, "The Journey of the Magi."
* Decorate your home with stars, white candles and gold ribbons.
* Leave up your Christmas tree with a star topper on it and star ornaments.
* Read the bible stories about Jesus' baptism and his first miracle in Cana.
* Throw an Epiphany party or a 12th Night Party on the evening of January 5th.
* Bake a Kings Cake.
* Play a game of hide and seek with the baby Jesus figurine from your nativity scene.
* Listen to "We Three Kings" and look for other Wise Men songs to put on a playlist.

I really like "The Wiseman's Song" by Sawyer Brown and "How Many Kings" by Downhere.

There is also the tradition of chalking the doorway of your home with a special Epiphany blessing. Read more about it in an article written by Deacon Greg Kandra, Chalking the Door: Blessing Your Home for Epiphany. Click the article title for link.

It was that bright morning star the kings followed to find the young Jesus and where they recognized his sovereignty over all the earth. A reign of service, love and sacrifice. We are called to also follow his light and be light bearers to the rest of the world.

So, just as the magi returned to their land to tell of the good news, you too go and share the message of Christ's birth, death and resurrection.

Happy Epiphany!

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