By the Reverend Dr. Katie Snipes Lancaster
January 6 is day number twelve after Christmas (cue singing of the twelve days of Christmas). On January 6, the church celebrates a holiday called Epiphany, remembering when God appeared as baby Jesus to the kings (also called the wise men or Magi). These kings traveled from “the east” following yonder star that pointed the way to Bethlehem. Read Matthew 2:1–12 to hear the familiar story again. This year, the January 6 celebration of Epiphany falls on a Sunday, which means we want to celebrate. At 10:30 a.m. during worship we will have an “Epiphany Procession.” All children and families will be invited to gather ahead of time together to walk into the church with the choir, carrying our Epiphany star-banner and singing “We Three Kings of Orient Are.” We invite everyone of all ages to wear their sparkling or star-adorned outfits, or crowns/tiaras if you have them. We hope you can join us for this warm and beautiful moment together in worship.
Coming of the magi —Matthew 2:1–12
After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in the territory of Judea during the rule of King Herod, magi came from the east to Jerusalem. They asked, “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We’ve seen his star in the east, and we’ve come to honor him.”
When King Herod heard this, he was troubled, and everyone in Jerusalem was troubled with him. He gathered all the chief priests and the legal experts and asked them where the Christ was to be born. They said, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for this is what the prophet wrote:
You, Bethlehem, land of Judah,
by no means are you least among the rulers of Judah,
because from you will come one who governs,
who will shepherd my people Israel.”
Then Herod secretly called for the magi and found out from them the time when the star had first appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search carefully for the child. When you’ve found him, report to me so that I too may go and honor him.” When they heard the king, they went; and look, the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stood over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were filled with joy. They entered the house and saw the child with Mary his mother. Falling to their knees, they honored him. Then they opened their treasure chests and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Because they were warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they went back to their own country by another route.