We all love a good birth announcement, don’t we? Whether it’s a social media post or a snail mail card, we are overjoyed to see the family’s new addition and share in their excitement! But centuries before the world of social media, and even way before snail mail, one very important baby was born who changed the world. And his birth announcement came in a most extravagant way, a new star in the sky, shining brightly over his humble manger. This announcement is more commonly referred to as the Epiphany, an ancient feast celebrating the revealing of God to the whole world.
The Feast of the Epiphany is celebrated twelve days after Christmas, on January 6th (and in some churches is celebrated on the second Sunday in January). Once a much more popular celebration, in recent decades, it has kind of been lost amongst the hustle and bustle of secular Christmas festivities. However, if you’re looking for a way to incorporate more of the Epiphany experience this year, look no further.
With the theme of three, here are three simple ways to incorporate an Epiphany celebration with your family this year and begin some new traditions!
1. Magi on a Mission
If you have a nativity set with the three kings (also called magi), bring them out of your display on Christmas day. This will begin their journey to find baby Jesus. Similar to the ever-popular elf of the shelf, you can place them in a new spot around your home each day for the kids to find. Your children can search for the magi each morning. When they find the magi you could say a prayer together, remind them of the magi’s important journey, and ask them to reflect on how they can let their light shine bright, like the star, to bring others to Jesus.
2. Read and Relive Scripture
On the Feast of the Epiphany, read Matthew 2: 1-12, the gospel account of the visit of the three kings. Get your kids involved by having them dress up as kings and act out as you read aloud.
The magi brought gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. These valuable items were standard gifts to honor a king and scholars believe that these particular gifts were chosen for their special symbolism, about Jesus himself. The gold represents his kingship, frankincense as a symbol of his priestly role, and myrrh prefiguring his death and embalming. The Christmas carol “We Three Kings” explains the three gifts well. After you recount the scene from Matthew’s gospel, sing the song as a family or (if you’re like me and cringe at the thought of singing aloud) find a version of it to play and listen to together.
3. Give Gifts
Some families wait until Epiphany to give gifts, and in following closely to the story of the kings, give three gifts. If you follow idea #1, Magi on a Mission, and have your magi searching for Jesus, this is a great way to bring it all full circle. Once the magi find Jesus, exchange gifts as a family. These presents can be as big or as little as you would like.