Every year as I clean up our Christmas and begin putting decor and toys away, I feel a twinge of regret. No matter how strong we start December with Advent activities, special Christmas books, and traditions that encourage my children to focus their eyes on Jesus and the true meaning of Christmas, we always finish in a messy, exhausted heap.
I want things to be different. I want to wrap up Christmas with a heart of worship. I want my children to begin the new year with hearts filled to the brim with the love of our Savior, instead of frazzled from the hustle and bustle of the holidays. Maybe you feel the same, my friend? This year, I may have found at least part of the answer: celebrating Epiphany Day with my kids!
Historically, Epiphany is celebrated on January 6th and wraps up the Twelve Days of Christmas, which begin on December 25th. This beautiful, Christ-centered celebration provides a wonderful opportunity to teach our children that Jesus came as a Savior King for all who choose to believe!
Why don’t you celebrate Epiphany with us this year? It may become a fun new tradition for your children as it has for mine! The message of Epiphany focuses on the three Wisemen, gentiles from the East who traveled a great distance just to have the chance to worship the prophesied King. I love that they traveled all that way to simply worship Him! I love that, even though they were not of Jewish descent, they knew Jesus was their King, the KING of ALL kings.
In my family, we celebrate Epiphany by making a simple cake, creating Wisemen crowns, singing songs of worship, and reading the account of the Wisemen in Matthew 2:1-12. We also unwrap a box filled with gold, frankincense, and myrrh (instructions below) and talk about the meaning of each of these gifts and how they each foretold a bit of what was to come in the life of Jesus. We finish by discussing what it means for us to seek Jesus each day of the new year and how we can live a life of worship before Him. Mama, this is such a sweet tradition to add to your Christmas season! Try it this year!
Easy Wisemen Crowns:
Cut a rectangular shape out of construction or computer paper long enough to wrap completely around your child’s head. You will probably need to staple two sheets of paper together and cut a bit off the end to make it the right length. Next, cut the top edge in a large zig-zag; this will be the points of the crown. Let your child decorate with markers or crayons and finish by wrapping the crown around the child’s head to fit and stapling the ends together. You can even make a miniature version of this crown do decorate your Epiphany cake!
Christmas Songs of Worship:
“Joy to the World,” “Silent Night,” and “Hark the Herald Angels Sing.”
Box of Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh Instructions:
- Gold, represented by a gold-painted rock, symbolizes royalty. By bringing a gift of gold, the Wisemen acknowledged that Jesus truly is the King of Kings.
- Frankincense, represented by dried sap from a pine tree or a little bottle of perfume or oil. Frankincense is actually an aromatic gum resin that is still widely used in parts of the Middle East and Africa today. Frankincense was used in the temple as a pure offering to the Lord. A parallel can be drawn between this and Jesus’ life as a pure and holy offering to the Lord.
- Myrrh, represented by fake white flowers or flowers cut from paper, was an anointing oil. Perhaps the Wisemen intended this gift as an indication of Jesus’ humanity and the manner in which he would save his people—namely, that he would die for them and his body would be anointed with myrrh at His burial.
Talk to your kids about how we as believers can start life anew this year by daily acknowledging Jesus as our King! How would that look practically in their lives? Would they treat others differently? How would their thoughts change toward Jesus? Would they bow their hearts in reverence before Him?
Together, we can learn who He is and who we are in Him, and together, we can take this one little life He has given us and pour out His love in a way that changes hearts, especially our own!