Adult Object Lesson: Epiphany



wisemenIsaiah 60:1-6  •  Psalm 72:1-7, 10-14  •  Ephesians 3:1-12  •  Matthew 2:1-12

Epiphany falls on a Sunday this year. Christmas included only one Sunday this season. We’re betting many in your congregation missed it!

This Sunday is a celebration of the arrival of the three kings. The symbolism of the three kings is vast. It wasn’t by accident that the story of Christ’s birth includes the interruption of an undesignated number of truth seekers from unnamed parts of Earth. From the very beginning, the birth of Christ was a story meant for all mankind.

Tradition has decided that three kings came. The Bible is not specific. Three is a great number for storytellers. It gives their story a chance to rise and fall and is not so many that people can’t remember. Among the gifts they brought (yes, there were more) were three named items: gold, frankincense and myrrh.

For today’s object lesson sermon, wrap three small gifts. One should contain a small cross. Another should have a candle. The third should have a match.

Ask three congregation members to open the gifts one at a time. You can decide which order will work well with your message, but here are suggestions of what they might mean in your sermon.

The cross: a reminder that God’s gift to us was his Son who would be sacrificed for our sins.

The candle: the light of the world (light being a symbol of Epiphany).

Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.  For darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the peoples; but the Lord will arise upon you, and his glory will appear over you. Nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn.

The match: the spark, the spirit, the need for the faithful to do something with the gifts bestowed upon us.

We are reminded that one of the unnamed gifts of the Magi was the journey. The Magi went to great effort just to get to the bed of the baby Jesus. The journey was like striking the match. It set the story still told today in motion. The light from their match (or star) has never burned out.

photo credit: Jenn and Tony Bot via photopin cc