Sunday, December 26, 2021

Jan 2, 2022 Feast of the Epiphany Cycle C

Children’s Liturgy Instructions
Feast of the Epiphany             Cycle C

Welcome children to their worship space.

Ask them to sit down in a circle.

Introduce yourself and your helpers.

Remind them why we come together to hear the readings.

Introduce symbol

Say: Today is the Feast of the Epiphany.  Can anyone tell me what that means?  <Epiphany is a word that means – something wonderful and new.  We usually use it when we discover something exciting that we didn’t already know>  Who do we celebrate today?  <the magi or wise men> This symbol of a gift represents an epiphany.  Something wonderful, that we don’t quite know what it is, something exciting that everyone will like.  And it represents what the wise men brought to the king they were looking for.  (hold up symbol)
Ask:  Can you think of a reason why we might want to celebrate the Wise Men?  Who were they?  What did they do? <looked for baby Jesus; gave Him gifts; protected Him by giving false information to Herod>  What can we learn from the Wise Men?

Explain:  Every one of the readings chosen for us to listen to, every one of our celebrations has a reason.  We need to listen closely to today’s readings and pray to understand why these readings are important in our lives.

The Wise Men were searchers.  They spent their whole lives looking for the truth.  They traveled a great distance to find what they were looking for.  What were they looking for?  <a king> 
The Wise Men were not Jewish (the religion of most of the people who lived where Jesus was born).  Yet Mary and Joseph received them gladly.  And they were all kind to each other even though they were very different from each other…  the intelligent men of wealth and the very poor Jewish family.  Jesus came for everybody, not just for the Jews.

The Wise Men knew what they were looking for and were open to accepting truth.  They were searching for a king.  What did they find?   They found a small baby born in a stable.  Did this baby look like a king?   They accepted that things were different than they expected and had a lot of faith.  They had an Epiphany, recognizing that here was a different sort of king than they expected.

And the Wise Men brought gifts for the king, the best gifts that they had to offer.

Let’s pay close attention today and see how we must be like the Wise Men.

Introduce readings

Say: The first reading is from the Old Testament Book of Isaiah (Isa 60:1-6).  Isaiah was one of the great prophets in Scripture.  A prophet often helps us understand things that happen by speaking for someone else.  Isaiah lived long before Jesus was born and had a special relationship with God.  He spent most of his life looking for God, listening for Him.  God used Isaiah to teach people about His love.  He used Isaiah to tell people that He was going to send His Son to save them.
Say:  Now we will have the first reading (light the candle)

Have the first reading.

Ask:  What was Isaiah talking about?  Did you hear: “the earth and its people are covered with darkness but the glory of the Lord is shining over you”?  Does this remind you of anything that we have celebrated recently? < maybe the great star that shone on the night of Jesus’ birth?>  Also, the part where treasures will be brought to Jerusalem, what does that make you think of?  <might remind us of the Wise Men coming to honor the baby>

Say:  Next we will have the Responsorial Psalm
Your part will be to say:
Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.  (hold up the poster)

Have reader read the psalm

Say:  Today’s Gospel reading is from the book of Matthew.  (Matt 2:1-12)  Matthew tells us today about the story of the wise men.  He tells us about their search for the baby who was born to be king of the Jews.  Listen to what happened when the Wise Men stopped and asked for directions. 
Say:  Let’s stand so that we can listen to the Gospel.
Glory and praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.

Read:  Read the Gospel

Ask:  What happened?   Who did they ask directions from?  <Herod – the current king of the country>  Why do you think that Herod might trick them?  <because he was afraid of a new king> The Wise Men trusted their own wisdom and feelings to tell them what to do.  They asked for information and they thought about whether or not to trust it.  And then they made their own decision.  What might have happened if they had gone back to Herod? <they might have been killed, Jesus would have been killed as an infant>

Hand out the Offertory symbols to color and the poster symbols to put their names on.  Collect the poster symbols and glue them on the poster. 

Explain: Color the symbol of the crown to show that you learned about how Jesus came for everyone and we must always search for Him to bring Him our gifts.

Encourage:  Ask those who can to write one thing they can do this week that would be a gift for Jesus.  (Talk about gifts we can give.  What can we give to bring happiness to someone else – that is a gift for Jesus)

While they are coloring, explain how we will go back into the church, up to the front with our gifts and rejoin our families.

Count out the parent letters and hand-outs to go home.

Give out stickers and hand-outs as they leave.

Use this rectangle in a light color for the communal poster

Use this graphic to create the 'gift' banner symbol.  Add a curling ribbon bow.

Use this graphic for the black line coloring sheet used for the Offertory gift

Parent Letter
Feast of the Epiphany  C

            Today your children heard a simplified version of the same readings that you heard: Isaiah 60:1-6 and Matthew 2:1-12
To reinforce at home:

Today we heard about the Wise Men who searched for a king.  These men of different faiths, not Jews, were among the first to recognize the infant Jesus for the savior he is.  One of the great mysteries is how these men could have recognized that the infant born in a stable was actually the king they were searching for.  These men listened to God.  They were willing to put their own ideas aside and see truth.
Activities to do at home:

*Pray together.  God always answers prayers.  Sometimes the answers don’t look the way we think they should.  Pray that you are open to receiving and understanding God’s answers to you.

*Talk with each other.  Together with your child, talk about a time when you prayed for something specific…. and something different happened that turned out much better.

*Celebrate!  The Feast of Epiphany officially closes the Christmas season.  Share a special meal together and finish taking down your decorations.

Thank you for sharing your children

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