When everyone else already has their Christmas packed away in boxes, we finish the Christmas season with a final burst of sparkle and light, gift-making and giving.
Our church loves to celebrate the beginning of the seasons of the church year together. Our longest-standing and favorite intergenerational celebration is held on the Feast of the Epiphany.
Chalking the Doors
We paused the service for an informal procession to the doors of the church. Every child who wanted to, took their turn chalking the traditional 20+C+M+B+19 above the doors while the priest offered the blessing. (Note: a stepstool is an essential part of the procession!). A bag with a piece of chalk and a small pamphlet giving a brief history and explanation of the tradition of chalking the doors had already been tucked away in a bag for each family to take home. Since the children had just helped chalk the church doors, this gave us a meaningful way to connect their worship space and the sacred space that is their home.
The Magi Star Act of Kindness Game
Then, during the children’s sermon, after the children heard about the gifts of the Magi, the youngest in each family was given a 2-inch wooden star, decorated ahead of time with paint pens by our teens. The youngest, we explained, was the first of the family’s Magi. Their task: do a secret act of kindness for someone in the family and then leave the star where that person would find it and become the next Magus. The goal was to keep the star moving for the entire season of Epiphany.
The written game directions, handed out with the stars are as follows:
The family member (Magus) who has the star does an act of kindness for another family member in secret, then sneaks the star on to that person’s pillow so that they can be the next magus.
How long can you keep the Magi Star going around the family?
An Epiphany celebration of food and crafts always follows the service. We eat King Cake and frost star cookies and make all sorts of star crafts, aimed at different ages and skill levels.
- Cinnamon stars to dry and give as presents
- Stars of yarn wrapped around cardboard or craft sticks
- Salt dough stars to cut out and paint with glitter
- Folded paper stars
- Waldorf-style tissue paper stars to hang in windows
Take Home Bags
At the end of the celebration, everything–star crafts, Magi Star Game, chalk with instructions, and a few pieces of chocolate gold–were gathered into ziptop bags.
Some of the children and teens left stars behind as gifts for our church windows and other spaces, where they stayed for the season. Incorporating activities into the service itself helped families connect church and home, but all of this could easily be incorporated into an intergenerational Epiphany celebration.
Mary Groeninger celebrates Eucharist and the seasons of the church year at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Ely, a popping faith community in the Northwoods of Minnesota. She’s passionate about intergenerational worship and connecting the Church to home and community.