More and more, I find that as we practice the spiritual seasons and events in our lives, I see how my mind and spirit have naturally followed these seasons over the years. Now, our practice has simply given voice to this flow of worship. It's always a bit hard for me to articulate my thoughts on how I practice/worship/live out my faith, probably because I feel like I am always coming to a different understanding that is hard to express. I thought though, that, for those who are interested, I would share some of my thoughts on Epiphany from this year.
The nativity has figured strongly in Aneliese and Cecily's play over the past few weeks. Rightfully so as we walked throughout the season of Advent with stories, candles, memorizing, and song. We walked through the season of Advent. Now we have moved in to the season of Epiphany. Advent, the time of hopeful expectations, searching, wondering, and waiting is ended by Epiphany. What does Epiphany mean? Why do we choose to celebrate it? I've been asked that several times lately as even within the circle of Christian faith, it is something that few practice. We've only done it ourselves for a few years and I found myself wondering why again this year.
Have you ever told some one that you had an epiphany because you discovered or realized something significant? The word Epiphany means "to show" or "to reveal". I personally had a bit of an epiphany as I watched the girls set up their nativity on January 6, Epiphany. Playing Mary and Joseph, they laid Jesus in the manger, as their sock monkey turned angel and doll turned shepherd looked on. They didn't have the wise men yet because the tradition in our family is that the wise men don't join the nativity scene until January 6. As I was watching them, I wondered, "Do they understand the power and the mystery of the Christ lying in a manger? Do they realize that little baby was also King, God and that he didn't stay a baby?" And it struck me, that is Epiphany, and that is why we celebrate it as we do. Because it moves us from the story of Jesus being born, to the revealing of Christ the King. The Wise men play such a significant part because after they had followed the star and searched for the king, they saw the child, Jesus, and they worshipped. Jesus the King was revealed to them. His light was made known. So how do we celebrate this revealing? How do we pass this on to our children?
Much the same as we have in past years, we invited several friends for a party (they aren't all in pictures because I try to respect the privacy of guests in our home and not everyone wants to be splashed across my blog!). The kids make simple crowns to wear, like what the wise men might have worn. I make a kings cake (hoping to post that recipe!) and they all help decorate it.
Then they hunt for the hidden wise men who need to find the star that
hung over the wee baby Jesus. Do you see how they gathered them around
to see the baby? And they ask questions. Why is it a kings cake? Why did
the wise men need the star? We answer their questions and we read the story together. Then we eat and as we share food, we laugh and talk as we celebrate and share life together. It's fun and I love it!
As I have continued to think about journeying through Advent to Epiphany to Easter and so on, I can't help but wonder what is going on in the minds of our children. Is what we hold as essential, real to them? Do they make the connections between the fun that we have and the truth that we want them to know? And as I begin to understand, I realize that is not the practice of Advent or Epiphany in themselves that will make Jesus real to our daughters. They are beautiful parts of our life that I am so thankful for, but they need depth added by Christ being revealed in us. As we walk in Spirit then Jesus is being revealed in us. That is the light and life of Epiphany.
"ARISE, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you." Isaiah 60:1
Did you celebrate Epiphany this year? Please, do share your thoughts or experience in the comments!