SQT: Epiphany

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One: I rearranged the living room furniture for Epiphany.  Hooray!  The piano is back in the living room, but now there’s no room for the tall bookcase that holds the  phone charging station and the cookbooks.  This is what comes of the extra windows I demanded when the house was being built.  But I gotta say, I love windows.
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Two: And then I had this blank wall that was just crying for art and beauty.  The photo, by Frank Anello, was taken in Myanmar (Burma). It’s a Kachin mom and baby, and I love it.  I bought it at a fund-raiser for the refugee-support organization we volunteer with.

Three: Owen said to me the other day (right before he had to leave for his once a week school), “So, what are the benefits of micro loans?”  And my loving, motherly response was, “What, did you forget to do your economics homework over break?”  No, he genuinely wanted to know about micro loans and if we could start a micro loan program.

Do any of you have experience with international micro finance?  I don’t think we’re up for beginning our own international relief organization, but my kids are really excited about raising $500 for a micro loan organization.  Anyone have an experience with an organization that gives micro loans with success?

Four: Obviously my camera is working again.  The new phone had to be replaced, so after I reloaded all the things I hadn’t backed up onto new phone #1, I had to do it all again with #2.  #firstworldproblem

Five: I spend two days over New Year’s weekend in Des Moines, Iowa.  A friend and I met for a weekend of reflection and prayer.  We woke up on Sunday and saw Ben Carson’s campaign bus in the hotel parking lot, and I realized I had some items I wanted to discuss with him.  Alas, they pulled out just as we were going down for breakfast.

Six: But I found this awesome cheese shop in Des Moines and ate the world’s best grilled cheese sandwich (with a little rosemary ham and fig jam).

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(Somehow my photo has as much chocolate as cheese in it. I don’t know how that happened.  Must be the new camera…)

Seven: The Epiphany service was lovely.  And our church started a Wednesday night class for the season of Epiphany, “A Christian Ending to Life.”  I will be presenting a session about getting straight answers from the medical community about how much time we have and implications of treatment choices, and how to communicate our end of life wishes to our treatment team and families.  That shouldn’t take more than an hour, right?

For more Seven Quick Takes, go to This Ain’t the Lyceum.

 

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Celebrating Epiphany

I have new energy for celebrating Epiphany this year.  I’m not sure where that came from- a good break these past two weeks? a snow day to prepare?- but I am going to enjoy it while it lasts.

Normally, I think Epiphany is one of the harder seasons of the church year.  Not that Epiphany itself is hard, but it’s not like Christmas which everyone (and their local Walmart) have suggestions for how to celebrate.  Epiphany is a quieter season, like Ordinary Time, and takes a little more thought.

Like Christmas, Epiphany is a holy day (January 6) as well as a season (running from January 6 to Ash Wednesday, which this year falls of March 5).  Traditionally, Epiphany celebrates the bringing of Light to the nations and recognizes the Magi’s visitation of Jesus.  (Eastern traditions focus on Jesus’ baptism.)

For Epiphany (the day) we have:

  • made French Galette de Trois Rois (Three Kings Cake)
  • played Find the Baby (hiding a small baby Jesus doll, often the one from our crèche)
  • made glittery crowns
  • made star cupcakes
  • played follow the leader, with the leader carrying a star.

but obviously not all at the same time.  This year, I am teaching children’s church, so we will read about the Magi and Herod, play Find the Baby, and follow the star.

For the season, we will:

  • light lots of candles, to represent Jesus as Light of the World.
  • cook lots of international food and spend time learning about the countries and how to pray for them.
  • support World Vision and Samaritan’s Purse as they bring Light to the nations.
  • read Matthew 2:1-12.
  • star-gaze.  Right now we can see Jupiter (it’s so bright!) in the east soon after dusk.  Try here for a weekly digest of what to look for in the night sky.
  • sing the first verse and chorus of We Three Kings as our sung grace.
  • make a little extra time in my day for prayer.

I also am excited to find new traditions in Let Us Keep the Feast: Epiphany and Lent.

What traditions draw you to the Light of the World and lead you to bring his light to the nations?

End of Christmas: Beginning of Epiphany

I hope you had a joyful Christmas, and that it lasted more than ten minutes on Christmas morning.  Now we’re heading into Epiphany.

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One of my favorite parts of Christmas is the music.  We try to hold off on singing a lot of the traditional songs and carols until Christmas Eve (which makes them that much sweeter) but we prolong the joy by singing them lots during the twelve days of Christmas.  In particular, we sing O Come, All Ye Faithful as our grace.

Now that we’re heading into Epiphany, we will sing We Three Kings for our Epiphany grace.  Or maybe this year, we’ll sing God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.

The Wise Men are almost at the stable, the Christmas decorations will come down, and we will celebrate our church’s name feast Sunday.  Then I will light as many candles as I can every evening (and morning) as the darkness creeps in.   Their light draws me away from the rush into a quieter place: a place of contemplation and prayer.  Will you join me?