Friends from afar

Christmas Adventure

The word Epiphany means manifestation/revelation. In fact, during this feast, we celebrate Jesus’ revelation as the Saviour of the whole world and not just of a section of people. Later in the Gospels, we encounter other ‘Epiphanies’, such as the Baptism of Jesus, when God the Father reveals Jesus as his son; the wedding in Cana, where Jesus gives us the first sign, the first miracle.
Pray Psalm 72, about the Kingdom of the Messiah

A reading from the Gospel according to Matthew 2, 1-12

Wise Men from the East

Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.”

When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.  And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born.

So they said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it is written by the prophet:‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, Are not the least among the rulers of Judah;For out of you shall come a RulerWho will shepherd My people Israel.’ ”

Then Herod, when he had secretly called the wise men, determined from them what time the star appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the young Child, and when you have found Him, bring back word to me, that I may come and worship Him also.”

When they heard the king, they departed; and behold, the star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came and stood over where the young Child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy. And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

Then, being divinely warned in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed for their own country another way.

The Gospel of the Lord
Praise to you Lord Jesus Christ

Using the puppets, the children retell the story of the three wise men and their journey, until they met Jesus.

One of the traditions of Epiphany, though not well known in Malta, is the blessing of chalk. In the countries where this is observed, the chalk is blessed in church, and everyone takes a piece home. Then the initials C+M+B are written over the front door. These are the initials of the names of the wise men, Caspar, Melchior and Balthassar. These three letters are also the first letters of the phrase, Christus mansionem benedicat, which means Christ bless this house. These initials are written between the numbers of the current year. Therefore, this year, this is how it is written: 20+C+M+B+23. Since this is not a popular tradition in Malta, take a piece of chalk with you to church and afterwards ask the priest to bless it. Remember that this chalk is now blessed, after writing 20+C+M+B+23 on your door, do not put it with the rest of your toys, instead, save it for next year! After writing these numbers and letters, pray Psalm 121.

  1. The wise men gave Jesus gold, frankincense and myrrh. These gifts showed that Jesus is king, Jesus is God, Jesus would suffer. Do you think baby Jesus liked these gifts? If you were there with the wise men, what gift would you give Jesus? Why would you give him this gift? Draw the gift that you would give baby Jesus.  (see below)
  2. Help the wise men find their way. (see below)
  3. Make stars from gold coloured paper (or you may colour them gold) and on them write the best gifts, God has given you. Hang these stars on the Christmas Tree. 
  4. Make paper crowns, decorate them and wear them during Sunday lunch.

This prayer will follow the steps of the Pass the Parcel game. Prepare the parcel beforehand. The gifts will be sweets, see that there is one for each participant. Separate the sweets with different layers of paper. Jesus gives us many gifts: parents, siblings, friends, pets, flowers, water, the sun, food …as background to this prayer, play the song, We three Kings . Every so often, stop the music, and whoever has the parcel, removes one layer of paper. If a sweet is found, it is put in the middle, so that the sweets are shared at the end. Who removes the paper also says a prayer of thanksgiving (for example: Thank you Jesus for the sun and the moon). The prayer ends, when all the sweets are found.