Second day of Epiphany
Prayer for January 7, the Second Day of Epiphany
As we seek a Savior, Oh God, lead us to the Christ-child.
Let us find assurance, in him,
That our sins are forgiven, and we need live in them no more.
Let us find hope, in him,
That dawn-future- will break upon us.
Let us find grace, in him,
For the living of each day,
The sharing of love each day,
The sharing of ourselves, each day.
Today is the Day of Epiphany—a day that marks a new season in the church. An ‘Epiphany” is like a lightbulb flashing on in perspective or thought—an ‘Oh, I see, I get it” kind of experience.
What is to see in this season, this time of the church?
Jesus is the Savior—and the Savior not of a select group or people, but of the whole world “God so loved.”
For this reason, Epiphany is commonly associated with the visitation of the Magi (or “wise men”), who were Gentiles, thought to be outside of the promises of Scripture.
T.S. Eliot has written a poem— “The Journey of the Magi”—which tells the story of birth of Jesus from the perspective of the Magi. It presents what could have been their own “Epiphany” in regard to who Jesus was for their lives. It’s a little long, but worth reading. Hang in there!
After reading the poem, consider this question:
Is there any way in which the child of Bethlehem makes you a little uncomfortable, as much as fills you with ease?
Here also is a prayer for the day:
Holy God, Guide my own life by the Star over Bethlehem. Amen
The Journey of the Magi
A cold coming we had of it,
Just the worst time of the year
For a journey, and such a long journey:
The ways deep and the weather sharp,
The very dead of winter.”
And the camels galled, sore-footed, refractory,
Lying down in the melting snow.
There were times we regretted
The summer palaces on slopes, the terraces,
And the silken girls bringing sherbet.
Then the camel men cursing and grumbling
And running away, and wanting their liquor and women,
And the night-fires going out, and the lack of shelters,
And the cities hostile and the towns unfriendly
And the villages dirty and charging high prices:
A hard time we had of it.
At the end we preferred to travel all night,
Sleeping in snatches,
With the voices singing in our ears, saying
That this was all folly.
Then at dawn we came down to a temperate valley,
Wet, below the snow line, smelling of vegetation;
With a running stream and a water-mill beating the darkness,
And three trees on the low sky,
And an old white horse galloped away in the meadow.
Then we came to a tavern with vine-leaves over the lintel,
Six hands at an open door dicing for pieces of silver,
And feet kicking the empty wine-skins.
But there was no information, and so we continued
And arriving at evening, not a moment too soon
Finding the place; it was (you may say) satisfactory.
All this was a long time ago, I remember,
And I would do it again, but set down
This set down
This: were we led all that way for
Birth or Death? There was a birth, certainly,
We had evidence and no doubt. I had seen birth and death,
But had thought they were different; this Birth was
Hard and bitter agony for us, like Death, our death.
We returned to our places, these Kingdoms,
But no longer at ease here, in the old dispensation,
With an alien people clutching their gods.
I should be glad of another death.
For the Twelfth day of Christmas:
Today is the 12th Day of Christmas- the last day of Christmas–and celebrates what can be called the 12 points of the Apostles Creed. These points can be summed up in three: God the Creator has made us; God the Son redeems us; and God the Holy Spirit sustains us.
The same God, three-in-one, calls us, on this last Day of Christmas, to this;
When the song of the angels is stilled,
when the star in the sky is gone,
when the kings and princes are home,
when the shepherds are back with their flocks,
the work of Christmas begins:
to find the lost,
to heal the broken,
to feed the hungry,
to release the prisoner,
to rebuild the nations,
to bring peace among the people,
to make music in the heart.
For the Eleventh day of Christmas:
Today is the 11th Day of Christmas, which celebrates the original disciples -apart from Judas.
(As a side note: I’ve always thought that Judas pre-emptively excluded himself from grace- the same grace given to Peter, whose betrayal wasn’t that much different. We “are all beggars,” as Luther said.)
Here is a prayer for this 11th Christmas Day:
Gracious God, thank you for all of those who have witnessed the wonder of your love, revealed in Christ Jesus, your only Son, our Lord- including those who were the first to speak of it. As we know, see, and witness that love, give us hearts moved to our own witness, in both word and deed. Amen
For the Tenth day of Christmas:
Today is the 10th Day of Christmas. The day celebrates the 10Commandments.
Here’s a prayer for the day:
Gracious God, may I ever live out the joy of Christmas by Living out your love through the love and spirit Jesus brings and reveals in the Commandments.Amen
For the Ninth day of Christmas:
Today is the Ninth Day of Christmas. The ‘Nine Ladies Dancing” are nine fruits of the Spirit- faith, hope, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness.
How they dance, in this bent-on-itself world.
Here’s a prayer for the day;
Gracious God, through your Spirit, which is alive both upon your Son, Jesus Christ, my Lord-and upon me-I ask that you cause faith, hope, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, and gentleness to dance in me.
For the Eighth day of Christmas:
Today is the 8th Day of Christmas- as well as New Year’s Day. The 8th Day of Christmas celebrates the Eight Beatitudes.
A prayer for you for the day;
Gracious God, in this New Year;
May I walk rich in your Spirit when my own is poor, and share the same.
May I find comfort in mourningand share the same.
May I look for your presence in what is human-and lead others to the same.
May I crave mercy, and show the same.
May I hunger for the right revealed in Jesus, your only Son, our Lord-and share the same.
May my focus be lovein all I do.
May i work for peacein all I say.
And may i remain steady in hope, steady in love, steady in grace and steady in the life of Christ-Child-whose light no darkness can overcome-each new day,every new dayof this coming year.
For the Sixth and Seventh days of Christmas:
Today celebrates seven gifts of the Holy Spirit- joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness. The 6th day of Christmas celebrates the. 6 days of creation prior to the 7th, when God rested, rejoicing in all before God that ‘was good.’
Here is a prayer for both days-
Gracious God, we give you thanks that you have created us, and all of life– and named all of life, ‘good,’ By the power of your Spirit, increase within us a respect for and joy in life. Move among us and within us so that the gifts of your Spirit- joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness- would be seen and known throughout your good creation, particularly through and in us, your people.
For the Fifth day of Christmas:
Today is the 5th Day of Christmas– a day of thanksgiving for the First Five Books of the Old Testament, the story of God’s first interactions and promises for God’s people.
Here is a prayer for the day;
Holy God, we give you thanks that you not only created your world good, but that in and through your love, revealed and given in Jesus Christ, your only Son, our Lord, you sustain it in goodness. Where we have fallen, restore us. Where we have betrayed you, forgive us and set us in relationship anew. Where we have rejected or ignored the goodness of your world– and of our own lives– heal us, and set us once again on the path of life.Amen
For the Fourth day of Christmas:
The Day celebrating the gift of the four gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.
Here is a prayer for the day: Gracious God, we give you thanks for the wonder of the good – and astounding- promise of the height and depth of your love revealed and given in Jesus, your only Son, our Lord. Thank you for the witness Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John give to He who is the Christ-child.
For the Third day of Christmas:
The Twelve Days of Christmas
A partridge in a pear tree-Jesus.
2 Turtle Doves = The Old and New Testaments
3 French Hens = Faith, Hope and Love, the three primary gifts of the Spirit.
4 Calling Birds = The Four Gospels
5 Golden Rings = The First Five Books of the Old Testament
6 Geese A-laying = The Six Days of Creation
7 Swans A-swimming = Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit- joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness.
8 Maids A-milking =The Eight Beatitudes
9 Ladies Dancing = Nine Fruits of the Holy Spirit- Faith, Hope, Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Gentleness.
10 Lords A-leaping = TheTen Commandments
11 Pipers Piping = The Eleven Disciples (Judas is not named.)
12 Drummers Drumming = The Twelve points of doctrine in the Apostle’s Creed