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Epiphany in the Home

Epiphany is January 6th, though often observed in church on the Sunday nearest. Epiphany means "manifestation" and celebrates the revelation that Jesus is truly God who came for all the world. This theme is rooted in the biblical stories of the coming of the Magi, Jesus' baptism, the wedding at Cana and the many accounts of healing, all these stories reveal Jesus as the Messiah. Jesus is the light of the world!

Focus

The season following Epiphany is about how we receive God's promise and gifts; how we live in God's light. For the people who walked in darkness became people of light. It is a time to share God's wonderful gifts!

Mood

Epiphany is time for real, joyous celebration.

Symbols

Stars and candles symbolize the light Jesus brings to the world. Crowns remind us of the magi.

Moravian Epiphany Star
Moravian Advent Star used for Epiphany;
it hangs on our porch bringing light
in dark winter
Candles
Candles for Epiphany Eve
Brass incense burner
Incense burner with frankincense

Food

Have an Epiphany cake for dessert on Twelfth Night. The traditional cake is spice, but our family preferred the Pillsbury chocolate-macaroon Bundt cake (no longer available). Use whatever kind of cake your family would enjoy. A Bundt cake resembles a crown; bake it with three foil-wrapped coins (one for each wise man) dropped in equidistantly around the cake, making it ikely that one will be found right away. Large gumdrops make jewels on the crown.

Epiphany Cake
Epiphany Cake with gumdrop "jewels"
Finding the coin
Laura finds the coin!
That year no one had and people
started eating 2nd pieces of cake,
when she found it!

Epiphany Eve, Twelfth Night, begins the Epiphany season. It is time to take Christmas decorations down. We leave the tree with just the lights for this last night, to emphsize Jesus as light of the world.

Serve an Epiphany cake—there are many traditional ones. Before baking, drop three foil-wrapped coins into the cake. After the cake is frosted, place a ring of bright red, yellow and orange gumdrops on the top. The gumdrops are the "jewels" on the crown. The first lucky person to find a coin is "King" for the night, leading the procession around the house and excused from any usual chores.

After the meal, because the wise men brought frankincesne, light frankincese in an incense burner. Take the incense in procession into every room, with the "King" for the night leading the way. In Austria this means, "Tonight the three kings are coming; we must make them feel welcome." Incense is a symbol for prayer and someone offers a prayer in each room, asking for the blessing of what we as a family hope to experience there in the coming year: restful sleep, tasty, nourishing food, good conversation, etc.

Worship Leaflets

Before the meal use the simple Epiphany liturgy (see PDF below). Have one white candle lit in the center of the table. Each person has an individual smaller candle that will be lit as part of the ritual. The liturgy may be repeated each Sunday in the season.

In the season after Epiphany choose a Bible verse on the theme of light for each week, for example:

Arise, shine; for your light has come,and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.
         —Isaiah 60.1

Jesus spoke to them, saying, "I am the light of the world; he who follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."
          —John 8.12

. . . for once you were in darkness, but now you are light in the Lord; walk as children of light and try to learn what is pleasing to the Lord.
          —Ephesians 5.8-10

Children take turns lighting candles for the evening meal and leading the verse. As the verse is repeated throughout the week it usually isn't long before everyone can say it by heart. A little bit of painless memorization.

PDF file for Epiphany Eve, Twelfth Night, family worship leaflet has just a bit to read, to sing, and to pray.

Print on heavy stock and you'll have reusable leaaflets that may simply be pulled out to be used year after year. Covers may be decorated by the children.

Reading should be done by both adults and children; it is important to involve everyone at an appropriate level.

The leaflet for the Season of Epiphany is printed on a half sheet, with just a verse for each week. Print 2-sided, then trim. As the season begins on the Day of Epiphany, January 6, and ends the day before Ash Wednesday, the number of weeks varies from year to year.

Tips for Starting Church Year Celebration in the Home
Church Year Resource Books

Advent in the Home
Christmas in the Home—All Twelve Days
Epiphany in the Home
Lent in the Home Updated! 
Holy Week in the Home Updated!
Easter in the Home
Ascension Day in the Home
Pentecost in the Home
Trinity Sunday in the Home  
Ordinary Time in the Home
Baptismal Anniversaries in the Home  

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