Celebrating Epiphany

/ Saturday, January 06, 2018


 A Little Background
Epiphany commemorates the day that the wise men came to worship Jesus, bringing with them gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. Contrary to traditional belief, a close look a Matthew Chapter 2 will show that the wise men were not a part of the nativity scene with the shepherds and the newly born Babe. With that being the case, there was some time between His Birth and their visit. There are many other details about the narrative of His Birth that many believe, but are not accurate according to the Scriptures, such as how many wise men there were. The Scriptures do not indicate how many, but somehow we are all stuck on the number three! It is important to decipher between the Word of God and man-made traditions and add ons.

With that being said, Epiphany is not a God-ordained celebration or Holy Day that must be kept. You may say, "Well, Stacie, just why would you celebrate it then?" My answer: simply to recall the order of events (history) and to thank God for His goodness. We really love Bible history around here and to speak of the wise men's worship of our Lord on a day other than our celebration of His Birth drives the point home to my children that the two were separate events.***

We also realize that, according to the Scriptures, God led these men of foreign origin (non-Jewish) to the Messiah. This is a huge detail because it is the manifestation of Jesus to the Gentiles so they could worship Him as King. Praise God, Jesus is for everyone!!



How We Celebrated
(Although Epiphany is traditionally celebrated on Jan. 6th, we celebrated a day early.)
  • Read Matthew Chapter 2 as part of regular Bible time.
  • Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh Assignment: my oldest 3 were each given one of the gifts to research and they had to present their findings to the family at lunch time.
Homeschool Assignment
  • Played Find the Cross: I hid a small cross (representing our King) somewhere in the house and the kids had to search for it. This was just a fun way to remember that the wise men set out to search for Jesus. Whoever was first to find the cross got first dibs at a sweet treat and would be the one to hang up our special prayer, described below. (According to Matthew 2, the star they had seen the East was not always visible, hence the reason they ask in vs. 2 where Jesus is since they had seen His star in the East. After their visit with Herod, the star reappears, as told in vs. 9 guiding them to Christ.)
My handsome number 5 was the first to find the cross. He was so excited!

A little background on this cross: A very dear friend of mine gave this to me when we were in college. Her father had given her a few of these little crosses to hand out to her friends, to encourage us in our faith and in prayer, to remain steadfast in the Lord. Her sweet father has since gone on to be in the Presence of the Lord, but his small gesture of encouragement has stayed with me over the years.
To my dear friend: Thank you, sis; I love you!
  • House Blessing: We welcomed the Prince of Peace into our home and hearts and lives, praying for His peace in our home and peace for all those who may come to visit this year. We prayed that our home would be a place Christ would be pleased to dwell in. And finally, we hung up a little sign (traditional to Epiphany celebrations) over the doorway of our front door.
Placed above our front door


And, that was that. . . . Well, we played "Find the Cross" two more times and had a few more pieces of candy. Then, that was that!

Resources
Of course there's tons of information on the internet. And as always, when doing internet searches, you take some and you leave some. As Christians we should seek to honor God with any tradition we keep in our homes, so those things that I thought were irrelevant or contrary to Scripture, I left out. Some of the things in our celebration, I made up.

One book that I refer to for information is Celebrating the Christian Year by Martha Zimmerman. Although I do not agree with or follow everything in the book, it is a handy go-to resource for navigating some of the Christian holidays and understanding their history and origins.

Have you ever celebrated Epiphany in your home or church? What family traditions do you keep this time of year?

***Side note: we do not believe that December 25th is the precise day of the Birth of our Lord, 
nor do we believe that January 6th is the precise day the wise men went to worship Him. 
While these may be days our family chooses to commemorate these events, 
we do not believe that it is mandatory or required of God for every believer to do so. 
I hope to post more (one day) on our family's journey in the way we celebrate 
and some changes that we are (slowly) making.




 A Little Background
Epiphany commemorates the day that the wise men came to worship Jesus, bringing with them gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. Contrary to traditional belief, a close look a Matthew Chapter 2 will show that the wise men were not a part of the nativity scene with the shepherds and the newly born Babe. With that being the case, there was some time between His Birth and their visit. There are many other details about the narrative of His Birth that many believe, but are not accurate according to the Scriptures, such as how many wise men there were. The Scriptures do not indicate how many, but somehow we are all stuck on the number three! It is important to decipher between the Word of God and man-made traditions and add ons.

With that being said, Epiphany is not a God-ordained celebration or Holy Day that must be kept. You may say, "Well, Stacie, just why would you celebrate it then?" My answer: simply to recall the order of events (history) and to thank God for His goodness. We really love Bible history around here and to speak of the wise men's worship of our Lord on a day other than our celebration of His Birth drives the point home to my children that the two were separate events.***

We also realize that, according to the Scriptures, God led these men of foreign origin (non-Jewish) to the Messiah. This is a huge detail because it is the manifestation of Jesus to the Gentiles so they could worship Him as King. Praise God, Jesus is for everyone!!



How We Celebrated
(Although Epiphany is traditionally celebrated on Jan. 6th, we celebrated a day early.)
  • Read Matthew Chapter 2 as part of regular Bible time.
  • Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh Assignment: my oldest 3 were each given one of the gifts to research and they had to present their findings to the family at lunch time.
Homeschool Assignment
  • Played Find the Cross: I hid a small cross (representing our King) somewhere in the house and the kids had to search for it. This was just a fun way to remember that the wise men set out to search for Jesus. Whoever was first to find the cross got first dibs at a sweet treat and would be the one to hang up our special prayer, described below. (According to Matthew 2, the star they had seen the East was not always visible, hence the reason they ask in vs. 2 where Jesus is since they had seen His star in the East. After their visit with Herod, the star reappears, as told in vs. 9 guiding them to Christ.)
My handsome number 5 was the first to find the cross. He was so excited!

A little background on this cross: A very dear friend of mine gave this to me when we were in college. Her father had given her a few of these little crosses to hand out to her friends, to encourage us in our faith and in prayer, to remain steadfast in the Lord. Her sweet father has since gone on to be in the Presence of the Lord, but his small gesture of encouragement has stayed with me over the years.
To my dear friend: Thank you, sis; I love you!
  • House Blessing: We welcomed the Prince of Peace into our home and hearts and lives, praying for His peace in our home and peace for all those who may come to visit this year. We prayed that our home would be a place Christ would be pleased to dwell in. And finally, we hung up a little sign (traditional to Epiphany celebrations) over the doorway of our front door.
Placed above our front door


And, that was that. . . . Well, we played "Find the Cross" two more times and had a few more pieces of candy. Then, that was that!

Resources
Of course there's tons of information on the internet. And as always, when doing internet searches, you take some and you leave some. As Christians we should seek to honor God with any tradition we keep in our homes, so those things that I thought were irrelevant or contrary to Scripture, I left out. Some of the things in our celebration, I made up.

One book that I refer to for information is Celebrating the Christian Year by Martha Zimmerman. Although I do not agree with or follow everything in the book, it is a handy go-to resource for navigating some of the Christian holidays and understanding their history and origins.

Have you ever celebrated Epiphany in your home or church? What family traditions do you keep this time of year?

***Side note: we do not believe that December 25th is the precise day of the Birth of our Lord, 
nor do we believe that January 6th is the precise day the wise men went to worship Him. 
While these may be days our family chooses to commemorate these events, 
we do not believe that it is mandatory or required of God for every believer to do so. 
I hope to post more (one day) on our family's journey in the way we celebrate 
and some changes that we are (slowly) making.


Continue Reading
One day I will have words for it all....

Another MRI day in the books, and God has brought us through it. Six years old with a story to tell....

Thank you so much for praying. 💗





#number4 #MRIdays #harddays #recovery #sleepyhead #juiceandcookies #sillyfaces #mybaby #JehovahRophe #GreatPhysician #prayersplease #love #noidlebread

MRI Days

by on Thursday, December 14, 2017
One day I will have words for it all.... Another MRI day in the books, and God has brought us through it. Six years old with a story to te...



How do you deal with your little ones when they pull you away from a project, you know, for that all-important game of peek-a-boo, or to read the story “just one more time”?


What is your reaction when you want to get a little cleaning done, but your little one wants you to watch him jump up high enough to touch the cabinet where cups are kept because. . . well, just because he realizes he can actually do it?


How well do you respond when your teenager plops down on your bed to begin asking about all the mysteries of the world, just as you were planning on saying, “Good-night!” to the world?


At this point, do you barely engage with your child, hoping that a brief acknowledgement will do the trick? Do you rush through your responses, eager to get back to what you were doing? Do you nod and mmm-mmm, not really paying attention? Because after all, there are things to be done, right? I mean people want to be fed a good meal, live in a neat and tidy home, and want homeschool portfolios to be stellar, right? Or maybe you’ve got errands to run or a phone call to make. Maybe you actually want to sit down, put your feet up and scroll through some random social media. Mama’s got things to do. . .


The truth is, there is no greater work than that of child-rearing to the glory of God. Our children are the arrows we will send soaring into the air of the future to do battle against the enemy, by the way they work and live out their lives for the Lord. Included in that precious child-rearing are the interruptions--but are they really interruptions or opportunities?


These moments are hidden pockets of God’s grace that cause us to slow down and focus on what’s important: an eternal soul, the true, well-being of another. They are also moments that God uses to refine us, working patience within us and sifting out the selfishness resting in the corners of our hearts. And, these moments are sweet gifts, to be cherished because time won’t wait. These babies of ours grow up and we don’t get these moments back: baby toes to kiss, little fingers in your hair, helping tie shoes, bedtime routines, little dresses to iron, grubby fingers to wash, help with hairstyles and accessories, your thoughts on something they created. . .all precious gifts.


Now, I know about being in the trenches when you’ve got 3 little ones and the oldest is 4 years old . . . or the busyness of another 3 babies, each a little over one year apart . . .or the frustration of not always being able to console a colicky baby while your other kids look on, wondering how you’ll fix it all. One of the lessons I’m learning in having a wide range of ages in my children is how unappreciative I was to these "interruptions" when my oldest ones were little. But I’m so thankful for how beautifully the Lord has worked in my heart to begin regarding these moments with gratitude.


One day will be the last day they ask to play peek-a-boo because they’ve outgrown it and are moving on to reading books. One day will be the last day they ask you to play hide-and-seek because they realize they can’t fit under the kitchen table like they used to. One day will be the last day they ask for help because they can do it all by themselves. I could go on, but you get the idea.


Cherish those moments, mamas. Take a deep breath before you respond to the "interruption" and remind yourself that it is actually a sweet gift from God. Remember, He has called you wife and mama, this is your domain, your territory. Own it and be grateful, not flustered, not frustrated, not exasperated that you have to hear that again, or do that again, or say that again, or help with that again. Take it in, stay the course, see God’s hand in it all, which will allow you to enjoy these blessings from God.

Is it Really an Interruption?

by on Friday, December 08, 2017
How do you deal with your little ones when they pull you away from a project, you know, for that all-important game of peek-a-boo, or...


Sooo, the whole season of fall just went by way too fast for me. I don't know if it's because the weather's been really warm, overall, this season or what. Maybe it's because some days I feel so busy, that I can't catch up with myself--that's sounds strange, but I think my mama friends out there know exactly what I mean.

Anyway, I've been longing for this space to write in again. I've been hanging out on Instagram a lot. I enjoy the friendliness over there and so far, it has been a peaceful social media outlet. However, this blog is my first love and the space the Lord placed on my heart years ago, so I always miss it when things are busy. So, here's some of our life's updates for you.

Family Stuff
*The biggest one ever, that I've hinted at, but haven't gone into great detail over was, this past JANUARY 2017, one of my little boys had brain surgery. (Still can't believe I just typed those words.) But it is true, and God has been so faithful to us and my son is well. You may wonder why I mention it here. Well, it is an on-going healing process with him and even at almost one year out, he sees a team of doctors regularly and has MRIs every 3 months, sometimes closer together if there is concern. So, our family has been learning our new normal since then, and how to live life after something like that. My son's condition is a new lens we see life through, a new factor that influences many of our choices that were unaffected before. Thank you to those of you who prayed and continue to pray for our family regularly. It is a blessing to have you pray, even all these months later.





*My oldest daughter is now a freshman in high school (still continuing to homeschool her) and she is a part of the dual enrollment program at one of our local community colleges--just one class at a time. Anyway, both high school and college in the same breath has done a number on my "mama heart"--it's happy and a little sad at the same time. Watching her grow and thrive is painful, yet beautiful. Just like when she was in my womb, growing and thriving, yet the more she grew the more uncomfortable it was for me, until there was nothing else left to do but to birth her, release her, all beautiful and new into the world. And so it is again. . .and I'm learning, this is all of motherhood--a series of beauty mingled together with pain as our children continue to grow and thrive.





*All the kids (except Baby Q) are swimming once a week and they love it!






*The oldest 3 are in a science club once a month at a local nature park. It has campsites, a playground, a small farm and a nature center, among other things. The little ones and I hang out while the oldest ones are in their class. Those days are so FULL, but are so much fun because there are great memories that come full circle: I remember when my oldest ones were all little and we would go to the same park, nature center and farm. It is so sweet to do it all again.





















*My family is part of the Christmas play this year at church, and practice began back in October.  The title of the play is "Shining Star Search" where the the angels of Heaven are looking for the right talented angel to announce the birth of Jesus. It is a nod toward the old TV show "Star Search", which I had to pull up on YouTube so my kids would know what it was. {Can you guess how old I felt in that moment??} My husband and three oldest children all have roles in the play: my husband is an angel, one daughter is a towns-person, my oldest daughter is the prop manager, and my son is her assistant, as well as Joseph. My son also is the understudy as the host of the show (as in, Ed McMahon). They have rehearsal twice a week and they are having a ball. My little kids go to the rehearsals and sing along and laugh and clap at the right moments.









*We recently took a day trip to visit the Museum of the Bible. It was an awesome experience and we hope to go again.







*Husband is holding steady and is a continual blessing as the head of our home. I totally admire his love and dedication to our family. I admit, I often don't understand the weight of the responsibility he carries in the role God has blessed him with, but I am so grateful. He takes it seriously and that is a blessing and so I pray that I am helpful to him for the rest of our days.





Mama Stuff
*I'm in a stage of life where I realize that my fertile years are more behind me rather than in front of me. That reality saddens me, and although there is so much more I could say here, that's all I will say right now, except that I am prayerful.


*The Lord has been tugging at my heart about Scriptural truths that are a little off the beaten path, so to speak, among many Christians:
Head Covering (1 Corinthians 11)
God's Appointed Times/Feasts (Leviticus 23)

God has been faithful to show how they are relevant to Believers today. One website with a ton of resources for head coverings is The Head Covering Movement, where I've listened to some great, Biblically sound instruction on the matter. If you're interested, please email me and I can share which sermons helped me. Also, I am currently doing a Bible study hosted by The Time-Warp Wife called The Beauty of Jesus Revealed in the Feasts, if anyone else is interested. There are a few other resources that I'm also studying and I hope to share a post on all of this once I'm further along. The Holy Spirit's nudging on these area are driven by Jesus words when He says, If you love Me, keep My commandments (John 14:15).

Many times we as Believers tend to cast aside Old Testament commands and statutes, thinking that they are all done away with or for fear that we are operating in works and not through faith under grace. Or, even with the New Testament, we reason away things as being "for that time" when we don't understand them or when the culture's voice is so loud in the opposite direction. So, I am seeking the Lord for understanding and correct application. There has to be a very good reason that the Holy Spirit of God saw fit to preserve His precious Word for us, including those things that aren't so popular.







*I'm got a new sewing machine!!!!!!!!!!! This has been a goal of mine for a few years now and I'm so excited, hence all of the exclamation marks!!!!!!!!!! I have an aunt who is like the seamstress of the family and I am thankful that she would take time to teach me a thing or two as a young girl. I wish I'd taken more time to learn and keep at while growing up. Prayerfully, my daughters and I can learn together and begin to crank out a few projects here and there.

Well, if you've taken the time to read this all the way through, you are super sweet. Thank you for taking the time to read about my family life. I pray you found something here to encourage your heart.  May you feel the love of the Father upon you.


End of Fall--A Family Update

by on Tuesday, December 05, 2017
Sooo, the whole season of fall just went by way too fast for me. I don't know if it's because the weather's been really warm...
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