Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Epiphany Celebration

In past years we have combined the lower two atria for a Christmas celebration on our first Sunday back after the holiday break. It is a lovely celebration - you can learn more about it and see photos from last year's celebration here. This year, we decided to have the Good Shepherd children celebrate Christmas on their own. Instead of taking the older children downstairs to join them, we held an informal celebration of Epiphany in the True Vine Atrium this year.

While the children were familiar with the scriptural account of the Wise Men's visit to Jesus, they hadn't yet learned about the feast of Epiphany. Because the feast is always celebrated on a specific date (January 6th) it seldom occurs on a Sunday and has usually already passed by the time we return to atrium after break.

This year I thought I would clarify the fact that the season of Christmas is always celebrated for 12 days, and it ends with the coming of the Wise Men at the feast of Epiphany on January 6th. To celebrate this special day, I wanted to get a star shaped candle holder like one that we have had and enjoyed in the Good Shepherd Atrium for several years. I found the star lantern to the right at Pier One, and bought the stand separately so that we could hang it. I have to admit that finding something beautiful that compliments our work in atrium is one of the special joys of being a catechist! The children loved it!

Before our celebration, we spent some time talking about the liturgical calendar and some of the details of the 12 days of Christmas and the feast of Epiphany that you can't see when looking at our calendar material. We had a beautiful procession, led by a child carrying our new star, as we sang "We Three Kings" together. Then we changed our prayer table cloth from blue (we hadn't been together since Advent) to white in honor of the feast day of Epiphany.

Once we were all gathered, and our star candle was lit, I presented the scripture reading of the Wise Men visiting Jesus, using the figures and environment that we have for this work (pictured). Afterward we had a very rich conversation about the Wise Men's visit.

I think this will be a new tradition in the True Vine Atrium, and we may add some additional parts to it in years to come. The children were definitely ready to celebrate the feast of Epiphany, and this little gathering seemed to be satisfying to all of us.


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