Monday, January 9, 2017

Little Epiphanies

Friday was the day of Epiphany around here, and everywhere, in fact.  But the date extended backwards and forwards, as I told the story at our pre-school chapel on Wednesday morning, and shared it again with the seniors at the Assisted Living Center in the afternoon.  And on Sunday again, we heard the story of the wise men who followed the star and worshipped the baby king, bringing him gifts.

On Wednesday morning with the children we were done with Christmas carol singing and back to our regular repertoire of simple songs, both new and old:  we sang "Jesus Loves Me" and "My God is so Great!" and "Deep and Wide" and "He's Got the Whole World in his Hands."  When I invited the children to come and sit with me, we all got to remember the Christmas story together, all the way back to Mary and Joseph's journal, and how Jesus was born and placed in a manger, and how shepherds heard the words of the angel, "Don't Be Afraid!"  

But then we got to the wise men with the gifts, and we remembered that Herod was a Bad Guy too.  But mostly we followed the star and when we found the baby, I had a baby doll for them to hold.  And when I asked them what gifts they would have brought for the baby, they had plenty of ideas, "a gallon of milk!"  "Diapers!"  "Food!"  "Toys!"  All good gifts for Jesus, and for all of the little ones we serve in his name.  

Some of the children had other answers.  One little girl wanted to give him her strength.  Another student thought we give our hearts.  

But the thing I remember the most is that so many of the children wanted to hug the baby Jesus before they returned to their classrooms after chapel.  


Later that day I was out at the Assisted Living Center.  They are tired of Christmas carols already there.  So we sang "Blessed Assurance" and "Love Lifted Me" and "What a Friend We Have in Jesus."  I don't know how great my sermons, but the singing is always spirited at the Assisted Living Center, and we always have communion.  And they always say that I did a great job.  

I told the story of the wise men and the star again, to them, about how the star guided them, not just to Bethlehem, but to the very place where Jesus was.  The exact spot.  We wondered if the child was exactly who they were expecting.  He was supposed to be a King, but he was not in a palace, after all.  And yet they did not hesitate.  They worshipped.  They believed.  We wondered what brought them from so far away, what they were looking for.  Were they looking for peace?  for hope?  For life?  

And I told them about the children, and we wondered together about what we would give the baby king.  



And then it was Sunday.  All of the decorations are still up at the church.  It is a late epiphany, two days after the day of Epiphany.  But the wise men came, following the star.  

I had a manger in the front of the church.  I had wrapped up some board Bibles and had 3 and 4 year olds come up to the front of the church.  We followed the star to the manger, and then I had them open up their presents in front of the congregation.

And one little girl cried out, "Oh!  I got Jesus!"

Yes.  Yes she did.

During the season of Epiphany we hear stories about how Jesus is revealed as the Messiah, the Savior, the Son of God.  And during the season of Epiphany we keep our eyes and ears open, because he has promised to reveal himself to us.

You never know when you will hear his voice.

You never know when you will catch a glimpse of him, the creator of heaven and earth, who made himself small, so small, for our sake.

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