“It is a time for rededicating ourselves to our own ministries and our missionary task – to continue the spread of Jesus’ light in the world.”
What is Epiphany?
The Feast of the Epiphany, or Manifestation (revelation) of Christ to the Gentiles, is observed on January 6th. Epiphany comes from a Greek word meaning “showing forth, appearance, manifestation, revelation.” The Feast of Epiphany proclaims the good news that Jesus revealed God to all humanity.
At Christmas the church celebrates the birth of Jesus, when God entered fully into the human experience. The Feast of the Epiphany takes the Christmas proclamation a step further, when the divine revelation in Jesus was revealed to the world as the magi came from the east.
The eve of the Feast of the Epiphany (Twelfth Night) marks the end of the Christmas celebration. The Epiphany, January 6th, is followed by a period of “Sundays after the Epiphany”; the length of the Epiphany season varies in length from four to nine Sundays, depending on the date of Easter that year. The Last Sunday of Epiphany is celebrated as Transfiguration Sunday.
During the season of Epiphany we remember and recognize Jesus as God by many people in our Sunday readings: the magi, John the Baptist, Jesus’ disciples, and Christians in every age, including our own. It is a time for rededicating ourselves to our own ministries and our missionary task – to continue the spread of Jesus’ light in the world.
Helping Children Understand Epiphany
Here are some points and pieces of wisdom to share with children during this season.
On the night of Jesus’ birth, the giant comet star let the world know that God is with us; magi from far away saw the star and journeyed to visit Jesus.
Jesus called his friends to be with him and to help him in his work.
Jesus said and did amazing and wonderful things that no one else could do. He healed many people to show how much God loved them.
Jesus, the gift of love, came for all the people of the world.
Jesus is like a light, helping us to see better.
We are a part of Jesus, and in Jesus we are baptized into God’s family, the church.
The wonder and mystery of the magi invite us to wonder about the mystery: Jesus, who are you really?
Epiphany Activities for Home and Church
Try these with children, youth, and adults.
• Look out into the night sky and look up at the stars and wonder at the gift of Jesus and what the magi discovered when they offered their gifts to Jesus.
• Make a poster of “What I Love” or “Gifts to Give.”
• Make a “Tape of Joy.” Record children reading, sharing poems, or singing songs of joy to give to those who are homebound .
• Celebrate everyone’s baptism. Make gifts for those to be baptized (decorate a candle, make a memory book, design a banner). Discuss and plan ways that everyone in the faith community can support the newly baptized.
Sharon Ely Pearson is an editor and the Christian Formation Specialist for Church Publishing Incorporated (CPI). She is the author/editor of several books, most recently The Episcopal Christian Educator’s Handbook and Signed, Sealed, Delivered: Theologies of Confirmation for the 21st Century. When not traveling for work or pleasure, she enjoys tossing tennis balls to her year old black lab, Chobe.
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