Festival of Epiphany Year C
The Gift of Light
Service Prayers for the Festival of Epiphany
January 6, 2022
Isaiah 60:1-6 Psalm 72:1-7, 10-14 Ephesians 3:1-12 Matthew 2:1-12
One of the key aspects of intergenerational worship is accessibility to all ages, and opportunities for each age group to learn from the others. There is no need to simplify all of the words used, as children need to be exposed the language of our faith as they mature. However, painting vivid images with words is helpful for all ages.
Gather as many candles as possible to display on the altar or table at the front of the worship space. Invite those worshiping from home to place several candles nearby on a table. Begin worship without any lights. Shutter or cover the windows of the worship space, if possible.
CALL TO WORSHIP
One: Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.
Many: We have see the star in the sky and have come to worship the Christ Child.
One: Nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn.
Many: The star is resting over Bethlehem, and we come rejoicing, overwhelmed with joy.
All: Let us bring the gift of our hearts and the gift of our lives to worship our God of light and everlasting love.
O God of Light and Love,
who shines in our hearts as brightly as the Bethlehem star,
we come together to give you praise.
You have come to us in the form of a newborn babe,
and our hearts are filled with awe and with joy.
We rejoice in your love for us, and we are grateful.
Yet there are times when we are drawn away from your light. We may feel inadequate, unworthy, or less than perfect.
We forget that we are your children, your beloved creations,
and that you reach out for us even when we turn away from you.
Forgive us, O God.
ASSURANCE OF PARDON
Light all of the candles, turn on all lights, and unblock all windows in your worship space as these words are spoken:
One: The night is gone and the day has come.
Christ, the Light of the World, born in the person of Jesus,
reminds us that God’s light and love are for all of us —
no matter who we are and no matter what we have done.
We are loved and forgiven.
Many: Thanks be to God.
SCRIPTURE Matthew 2:1-2
Present this scripture using biblical storytelling, readers’ theatre, or a dramatic offering.
Create a guided meditation based on Matthew 2:1-12, inviting all to join the caravan of travelers who accompanied the Magi to Bethlehem. What gift have you chosen to bring to the Baby Jesus? Why did you choose it? How has the journey changed you? What gift have you received in return?
RITUAL: Epiphany Stars
Provide enough stars (made from card stock, wood, craft foam, or other material) for everyone present. Print a spiritual gift (such as the fruits of the spirit found in Galatians 5:22-23) on each star and place them in a bowl near the candles. Create a separate bowl with simpler words (such as happy, love, quiet, rest, play, etc.) for young children. Send or deliver the Epiphany Stars to those attending virtually. Print the Epiphany Star instructions in the online bulletin in order that online visitors may be prepared to participate in this ritual.
Each person draws a star from the bowl and the word on it becomes their “gift” to ponder for a designated period of time. At the end of this specific time period, all are invited to share (in story, art, or digital form) how their Epiphany Star word shed light on their lives during that time.
Sing together the third stanza of As with Gladness Those of Old:
As they offered gifts most rare at the manger plain and bare,
So may we with holy joy, pure and free from sin’s alloy,
All our costliest treasures bring, Christ, to you from whom they spring.
Public domain; word alterations ©1995 Pilgrim Press. Reproduced with permission
Permission granted churches to reproduce and stream in programs of worship and education.
As the Magi of old, guided by a star in the night sky,
brought gifts of homage and gratitude,
so we bring our gifts today.
May these gifts scatter the shadows of those in need.
O God, we come to you seeking to be as wise as the Magi,
who gave of their most precious treasures —
symbols of the giving of themselves to the Christ Child.
May these gifts be a source of light in places where your light and love are needed most. Amen.
The night has gone and the Light has come!
May the light of the Bethlehem star,
the wisdom of the Magi,
and the hope that the Christ Child brings be with you always. Amen.
The Gift of Light: Service Prayers for January 6 was written by Debbie Gline Allen, Commissioned Minister of Christian Formation, who serves as Minister of Faith Formation for the Southern New England Conference, and as the Director of its Faith Formation Leadership Program.
Copyright 2021 Faith INFO Ministry Team, United Church of Christ, 700 Prospect Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44115-1100. Permission granted to reproduce or adapt this material for use in services of worship or church education. All publishing rights reserved.