The Sidney Sun-Telegraph - Serving proudly since 1873 as the beautiful Nebraska Panhandle's first newspaper

Celebrating the Seasons

 

January 12, 2022 | View PDF



We are into January; the virgin birth has taken place, and the Messiah has come into the world. Advent was a time of reflection, a time of hope and waiting, and while the season has the symbolism of darkness, it also is a reminder that God’s promises have withstood the test of time, and the light has come. Christmas doesn’t stop on December 25.

Like Easter, Christmas is a season, not merely a night and a day. Some churches have observed the season as lasting forty days, until February 2, but many others have kept Christmas for twelve days, concluding on January 6, Epiphany.

Early worship resources referred to the Sundays between Epiphany and Ash Wednesday as the Epiphany season; this terminology has been changed to clarify that the festival of Epiphany is the single date concluding the Christmas season. During the time of Epiphany, it is common and appropriate to schedule baptisms. The magi brought their gifts to Christ, so we bring one another to a new life of baptism.

Some other traditions that have been observed during Epiphany include the burning of Christmas greens. It not only concluded the Christmas cycle, but the bonfire also anticipates the fire at the Vigil of Easter. This festival of Epiphany could also be used to do a house blessing. Gathering outside the house, Christians use chalk to mark the door’s frame with the letters C, M, and B. The letters stand for Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar, the names traditionally given to the magi, and also for the Latin phrase Christe mansionem benedicat, which translates “Christ, bless this house.” Throughout the year, the markings will keep alive the prayer for God’s blessings.

During the season of Epiphany, three prayers of day are offered: one likens our journey in faith to that of the magi, one uses the star and the treasures as metaphors for us, and one highlights the many nations for whom God’s light shines. Additionally, Psalm 72 is a wonderful Psalm to read for expressions of hope.

Epiphany is celebrated with the retelling of the story of the magi coming to visit Jesus and leads up into a story of radical hospitality and inclusiveness. The first Christmas was full of strangers being brought together, the marginalized were invited to be part of the story, and God’s love welcomed everyone to the table to be fed.

Chad Rademacher

Pastor, Holy Trinity Lutheran Church.

 

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