Sunday, January 1, 2023

The Feast of the Epiphany Cycle A

Feast of the Epiphany Cycle A

Welcome children to their worship space.

Ask them to get their carpet squares and sit down in a circle.

Introduce yourself and your helpers.

             Explain: Today is the Feast of the Epiphany.  Can anyone tell me what the Feast is for?  <the visit of the three kings>  This is also the end of the Christmas season.  Next week we celebrate the Baptism of Jesus which ends the Christmas Season.  After that, we begin Ordinary Time again..

Ask:  Does anyone remember what we talked about last week?  <hold up the symbol of the family> We talked about the importance of  our families.  Does anyone remember anything important about their families? <discuss>
Introduce symbol
Say:  Today’s symbol <hold up the symbol> is a world.  Who can tell me where the three kings (or wise men) came from?  <from the East—from far away>  These very important people did not come from anywhere in the Jewish world.  Their coming to see the infant Jesus tells us something important.   Did God send his son to just one group of people?  <no, Jesus came here to share the good news with everyone>

Explain:  Many people at that time believed that the Messiah would come to save the Jews.  But we know now that he came for all of us  The three wise men remind us of that. 
Say:  Let’s look at the poster.  What does it say? <Lord, every nation on earth will adore you> This is our Responsorial Psalm for today.  The Responsorial Psalms also come from Scripture, from the Book of Psalms in the Old Testament.
Ask:  This psalm says the same thing—God is the God of all of us on earth.  Jesus came to save us all.

Introduce readings
We have two readings today.

Say:  Let’s light the candle to show that we are ready to listen to the Word of God.

Say: Today’s first reading is from the Old Testament book of the prophet Isaiah. (Isaiah 60:1-6)  Isaiah talks about Jerusalem as if it were a person.  He is really talking to all those who believe in God.  He talks about how wonderful it will be when we all can praise God together.

Have the reader read the first reading.

Ask:  Isaiah said, “The earth and its people are covered with darkness, but the glory of the Lord is shining over you.”  What might that mean?  <believing in God gives us a special happiness that other people often don’t have>  Sometimes that makes other people want to be like us.

Say: Now it is time for the Responsorial Psalm.  Your part is to say:
Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.

Say:  Today’s Gospel reading comes from the book of Matthew.  (Matt 2:1-12).   Today’s Gospel is the story of how the wise men came to visit Jesus.  While you listen to the reading, see if you hear anything that you never knew before.

Say:  Now we will get ready to hear the Gospel
(hold up card)  Alleluia!  Alleluia!

Have the reader begin: “a reading from the holy gospel.....”

Read:  Read the Gospel

Ask:  So did you learn anything new?  <discuss> 

Say: No matter who we are, Jesus came for us.  God loves us all, we are all his children.   Because of that, we are all a kind of family.  When you think about other people in the world, how does it feel to call them brother or sister?  <sometimes confusing—this might be a good opportunity to discuss other people or nations that do things we don’t agree with, that they are also part of God’s family and we have a responsibility to behave appropriately and set a good example>

Hand out the cut-outs (blue and green circles) for the children to put their names on for the poster.

Hand out the symbols to color and cut out. (The symbol is a world). 
Explain: Color this symbol of the world and bring it to the altar (don’t forget to put your name on the back!)  to show that we have learned about being part of the family of God.

Ask the older children to write one thing that they can do this week to show that they are part of a greater family than just the one they live with.

If there is time, ask questions and go over the lessons one more time to help the children remember.

Give out stickers and hand-outs as they leave.

Parent Letter

The Feast of the Epiphany A

Dear Parents,

           Today we celebrate the Feast of the Epiphany.  The children listened to the same readings you did: Isaiah 60:1-6; Matthew 2:1-12.

Symbol: world

To reinforce at home:
Today’s readings remind us that God is the God of all the world.  The three kings (or wise men) traveled much farther than the world that Joseph and Mary knew.  They represented the non-Jewish world that Jesus came to save.
We continued the discussion from last week about families and reminded the children that we are all part of the family of God.  We brought up the fact that this makes us brother and sister to people from all other countries.  Sometimes this is difficult to accept when those from other countries and cultures do not behave in a way we think is good or right.

Activities to do at home:
*Together with your child, talk over some of the news about foreign countries.  Children hear much more (and worry about much more!) than we realize.  Emphasize to them that loving someone and agreeing with them are not the same thing—but that we bear a responsibility to set a good example and behave as much as possible in the way that Jesus prescribes.. 
*Think of others!  What can you and your child do for underprivileged people, most especially children?  Help your child find a place where he or she can make a difference.  

Thank you for sharing your children!

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