Arise! Shine!

On Sunday, January 2nd, we are celebrating the story of Epiphany in worship.  The readings will be Isaiah 60 and Matthew 2.

Are any of you using the New Year’s Holiday to take down your Christmas tree?  Why not use the time to teach about the meaning of Epiphany, a part of our worship year that is often forgotten because it falls so close to Christmas?

Isaiah calls the people of Jerusalem to rise and shine because God’s glory is upon them for all the world to see.  Children heading back to school this week after soaking up God’s Christmas love and glory are ready to hear the call to shine also.  Verse 1 is their key verse.   Actually “Arise, shine!” is all they need. 
One way to explain the symbol of light is to present children with several symbols, e.g. a national flag, a symbol for a sports team, and a cross.  As you present each ornament ask what it stands for and what it makes them think about.  Then tell them that the symbol for God is light.  Since we can’t make a picture of light, we use things that make light like a star, sun, candle, lamp.  Display a treetop star ornament that goes at the top of the Christmas tree and note its meaning.  Recall Christmas candle lighting services and note that we lit those candles to remind ourselves that God the light is with us. –Written by Carolyn Brown
 
Here’s another idea for helping kids see the meaning of Epiphany:  find star-shaped stickers (glittery ones would be great!) and give each child a sticker to place on their hand or clothing.  As you give them the sticker, echo the words of Isaiah, “Arise!  Shine!
 
Infant Jesus, shine brightly in our lives this new year.  Amen.
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