Children and Families at the Epiphany

72dpiThe_visit_of_the_wise-menThe season of Epiphany begins on January 6 and ends on Shrove Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday. On The Feast of the Epiphany, January 6, we remember the visit of the three kings (Magi, el Dia de los Tres Reyes, la fiesta de Reyes, or el Dia de los Reyes Magos) to the Holy Family in Bethlehem. This day brings an end to the Christmas season. It is sometimes called Twelfth Night. In many cultures, this day is a very festive day, even replacing Christmas Day as the major gift-giving day.

The word “epiphany” comes from a Greek word which means “showing forth.” The season of Epiphany can last from four to nine weeks, depending on the date of Easter that year.

The liturgical color for the season of Epiphany is green, symbolizing growth and living things. The theme for the season is one of mission, re-examining our baptismal promises, remembering Jesus’ ministry and his miracles. It is also a time for re-dedicating ourselves to our own ministries.

One custom associated with Epiphany is called “chalking the door”- it is a way of asking for and symbolizing God’s blessing on our homes for the new year. Here is a brief service you can do at home- all you need is a piece of chalk and a door frame!

Using chalk, write on the door frame the year’s date and the letters C, B and M (the initials of the 3 Wise Men and also Christus Mansionum Benedicat or May Christ bless this House). The date is interrupted by the letters, so for 2015 here is what it would look like: 20+C+M+B+15. After you have written on the doorpost say the following blessing prayer:

God of doors and homes, bless this home this year and every year.
Bless all who come and go through this door,
both those who live here and those who visit.
May all who enter through this door come in peace and bring joy.
May all who come to this door find welcome and love.
May the love and joy in this home overflow
and spread into the community and the world.

Epiphany Library Resources:

Old Befana, Tomie dePaola
Bright Star, Bright Star, What Do You See?
Cassandre Maxwell
The New Star, Mike Carroll
The Fourth Wise Man, Henry van Dyke
The Book of Occasional Services, Church Publishing
Faith-Full Families, Kristine Goodrich
Offering the Gospel to Children, Gretchen Wolff Pritchard
We Three Kings, Tomie dePaola
The Fir Tree, Hans Christian Anderson
The Tale of Three Trees, Angela Hunt
To Dance with God, Gertrude Mueller Nelson
The Prayer Book Guide to Christian Education, Joseph Russell

1 thought on “Children and Families at the Epiphany”

  1. For some years in my life, a little procession “chalked” all the students’ room doors very, very early in the morning of the 6th. And on the street where I now live in Philadelphia, the brothers of a Puerto Rican woman on our street used to serenade her very, very early in the morning of the 6th. Miss both things …

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