Friday, December 28, 2018

Epiphany

Each December I choose a new song to orient me. This year that song is My Lord Has Come by Will Todd. I love the performance by Lux. Here are some lyrics; consider them a wish for your 2019 journey to be led by love: 
Sages, searching for stars, 
searching for love in heaven. 
No place for them but a stable. 
My Lord has come. 
His love will hold me, 
his love will cherish me. 
Love will cradle me. 
Lead me, lead me to see him.

Epiphany, that time in the Christian year when we tell the story of the Magi, is January 6. Below I have featured 2 books that tell that story. One by my favorite preacher, Barbara Brown Taylor. The second is cleverly designed for very young children.

Picture Book: Home by Another Way: A Christmas Story
Author: Barbara Brown Taylor
Illustrator: Melanie Cataldo
Summary:  Three men, in three different countries, see a star. Not sure if the star is above them or imagined, they are wise enough to know this doesn't matter. "Something was calling them...something was missing." They meet on the way to Jerusalem to meet a king. They realize the star has brought them together. Their interactions with a conniving Herod are a familiar part of the story dramatically told. When they reach the star, it is surprisingly above a small house with a decidedly homey atmosphere. They find the babe with that same star shining in his eye and fall down to worship, offering their expensive gifts. To say thanks, Mary hands over Jesus for all to hold. Then all bed down for the night. Once awake, the stars are gone, but the three don't need them anymore. They have found what they came for. Having all dreamed to steer clear of Herod, these wise wanderers leave transformed, their old maps no longer useful. They have been gifted by the presence of Immanuel and a new way home. 
Hanna’s Comments: The illustrations and words in this well-known story are very human, humorous, and rich with meaning. Barbara Brown Taylor is a gifted storyteller! A very popular preacher and spiritual writer for adults, to have her words in picture book form is a treat that I hope will be repeated. Be aware that she has a collection of sermons of the same name. You might want to order it for yourself. It parallels the Christian year which just started with Advent. You can treat yourself to BBT sermons all year long!
Original Publisher & Date: Flyaway Books, 2018                                            (I love what this publishing company is doing!)
Age & Grade Appropriateness: 4 and up, Pre and up
Formats other than Book: Tablet
Scripture Connections: Matthew 2:1-12
Idea(s) for Application: Read this book to a group of children, teens, or adults and ask what they are searching for and who are they are to search with. Then consider how their searching can be wise and led by God, especially when "another way" is better.

Picture Book: Follow the Star
Author: Make Believe Ideas
Illustrator: Lara Ede
Summary: A die-cut window throughout the pages of this shiny board book will encourage your little ones to follow the star like the wise men did. The overall story of Christmas concludes with an emphasis on the journey of the magi, their gifts, and their worship of the new little king. 
Hanna’s Comments: Christmas wasn't until December 25th, despite popular media and our consumer industry, so reading this book to children now and on into January is exactly right. Little ones can begin to understand the concept of worship with this beautiful little book. The wise men are great role models in this way. Talk with them about giving gifts and following directions, both important spiritual practices for little ones to develop.
Original Publisher & Date: Thomas Nelson, 2018
Age & Grade Appropriateness: 4 and up, Pre and up
Formats other than Book: None at present
Scripture Connections: Matthew 2:1-12
Idea(s) for Application: Read this book to very young children to introduce them to this magical and profound story of God’s guidance and the longing to worship a true king.