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Epiphany Ideas?


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Does anyone have any cool ideas of how to celebrate Epiphany?

 

Just got an email that we won't have a pastor at our small 10:45 alternative service on Jan. 3. I wrote her email and suggested we have a potluck with kings' cake and use these ideas I found on a Presbyterian website to start discussion (see below, if you're interested). I thought we could possibly tell stories at tables during brunch and then whoever got the 3 beans in the kings' cake would choose volunteers to tell the whole group a short story. Then we could write down something to give Jesus this year and put it in the manger.

 

However, I'm still open to better ideas! Thanks in advance.... Janet

 

 

 

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Epiphany: Hungering for God’s Unfolding Story

 

How do we follow the “star” today?

 

The Magi remind us of the persistent hunger in all of us to be part of God’s work in the world. These three men were not part of the Jewish hierarchy that knew about the coming Messiah from the scriptures; they were Gentiles who studied the stars. They wanted to know what God was doing in the world. Through their study of the night skies, they came to the conclusion that a great Jewish king was to be born. They followed the star, to see the gift that God had prepared for the world.

 

 

As believers today, we also hunger to know what God is doing in the world. We want to know because it is part of our identity as the people of God. If we don’t travel the world to seek out these actions of God, like the Magi, we can be encouraged in our faith journey by stories of those who are witnesses of that work. Stories abound—stories of faithful people around the world who work to follow their “star” as God leads them to worship and serve the Christ.

 

One of the great privileges we have as believers is to tell our own story of how we have followed the “star.”

 

As you follow your journey of faith, take a moment each day to look for the stories of God’s faithfulness that are all around us. These stories are well worth seeking. They provide evidence of God’s work in the world and a wonderful reminder that we are all part of the unfolding of this miraculous story.

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Growing up, we would always leave the tree up until January 6. Then we'd take it all down as a family, and have dinner afterwards, discussing what was great about Christmas. This became tradition, not directly associated with the Epiphany but it certainly could be. I remember my parents calling it "Old Christmas" though I never fully understood it as a child. My parents were actually Agnostic (a Presbyterian and a Catholic who turned away in adulthood) and we celebrated Christmas in a secular fashion, not in a religious fashion.

 

I also recall some of our family would actually wait until the first week of January to exchange gifts as well.

 

Oh, I remember a children's tradition similar to what you mentioned about beans in the cake... but yet different: The idea was to have a "crown" cake that the children would decorate, and inside the cake would be some kind of a "prize".. Whoever got the prize was the "king of the meal" and gets to tell everyone else what to do ;) (within reason, hah)

 

Obviously that is much more for children.. lol

 

I like your idea about the beans and the stories.

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Growing up, we would always leave the tree up until January 6. Then we'd take it all down as a family, and have dinner afterwards, discussing what was great about Christmas. This became tradition, not directly associated with the Epiphany but it certainly could be. I remember my parents calling it "Old Christmas" though I never fully understood it as a child. My parents were actually Agnostic (a Presbyterian and a Catholic who turned away in adulthood) and we celebrated Christmas in a secular fashion, not in a religious fashion.

 

I also recall some of our family would actually wait until the first week of January to exchange gifts as well.

 

Oh, I remember a children's tradition similar to what you mentioned about beans in the cake... but yet different: The idea was to have a "crown" cake that the children would decorate, and inside the cake would be some kind of a "prize".. Whoever got the prize was the "king of the meal" and gets to tell everyone else what to do ;) (within reason, hah)

 

Obviously that is much more for children.. lol

 

I like your idea about the beans and the stories.

 

It sounds as if you may have Eastern European history in your family.

 

The Julian calendar was introduced in Rome in 46BC. The problem was, this calendar was not accurate enough; it loses one day every century or so, and over time it was apparent that the solstices were not falling at the right time.

 

To address this issue, the Julian calendar was superceded in 1582 by the Gregorian Calendar, which was adopted in most of Europe, but not in Russia, Turkey or Greece.

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gregorian_calendar

 

Russia only changed to the Gregorian calendar after the Bolshevik revolution of the 1920s, which explains why the October revolution is not celebrated in October - it is October Old Style.

 

Orthodox church feasts are determined by the Old Calendar, which is why they celebrate Christmas day on January 6; to them that is December 25.

 

Therefore, Old Style Christmas Day is Christmas Day according to the calendar of Julius Caesar, and according to the Orthodox Church.

 

Christmas trees are traditionally left up until twelfth night, and then taken down. This is because Christmas celebrations used to carry on for 12 days; the 12 days of Christmas. The twelve days equate to the 12 days of the Roman Saturnalia, when social conventions would often be suspended, and masters would wait on their slaves.

 

This is paralleled in UK history, where it was often customary for a 'Lord of misrule' to be chosen, to rule for the 12 days, and to preside over the feasts. It looks as if the bean in a crown cake game is a residual part of this tradition.

Edited by Anglocatholic
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Does anyone have any cool ideas of how to celebrate Epiphany?

 

Here are some of my thoughts on Epiphany in relation to the Incarnation. Not as a better idea, because your ideas sound great, just as something else to think about.

 

These are from my website, which has my paintings and some other stuff. I prefer not to post public links, but if anyone wants the address, I am happy to pass it on.

 

The different portrayals of the crucifixion reflect different interpretations of the passion to any particular denomination.

 

Catholics will often show Christ suffering in great agony, because to them the passion; the suffering and death of the Lord for mankind, is central to their understanding of our suffering, and our own death. The emphasis is on Christ as the Lamb of God, the willing sacrifice, laying down his life freely for us all. The direct connection with the Passover Lamb is emphasised by the inscription above Christ's head; INRI, standing for Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews.

 

Orthodox representations, which are very rare in statue form but appear in iconography, are far more stylised, and emphasise the relationship between Christ the King, and his sacrifice for mankind, rather than his personal suffering. Orthodox are very wary of showing the intense suffering, as the Catholics do; it is not part of their theology to be able to represent this. The inscription is no longer INRI but, 'The King of Glory and the Angels.'

 

And a third variant with more resonance for the free churches (and my personal favourite) is the crucifix with an image of the risen Christ standing in glory, with his arms outstretched in welcome. This is Christ our High Priest. This is also the Christ of the empty cross; resurrected and standing before the Father on our behalf.

 

These three different ways of seeing the same event are all equally valid.

 

When the magi came to worship the Christ child they brought three gifts; gold for the King, frankincense for the High Priest and myrrh for the Sacrificial Lamb.

 

Similarly, we can offer either gold, frankincense or myrrh; to King, High Priest or Lamb of God; all perspectives are equally acceptable.

 

In other words, we don't all have to be Catholics.

Edited by Anglocatholic
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