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Epiphany

Posted by on January 11, 2019

What Is the Epiphany and How Do I Celebrate It?

Craig Higgins

“I’ve had an epiphany!” Have you ever heard someone say that? I don’t know that I’ve ever said it, but I’ve felt that way—the excitement of new insight breaking through my thick head! An epiphany is a manifestation—a disclosure of something not previously fully seen. For Christians, the Epiphany is a festival day—and an entire season—in the traditional worship calendar. And what we celebrate is God’s full disclosure of His love for the whole world.

The Epiphany is celebrated on January 6—the first day after (yes, just like the song) the Twelve Days of Christmas. The focus is the visit of the Magi, the Wise Men of Matthew 2. In some places, this is the day (sometimes called Three Kings Day) on which gifts are exchanged, remembering the gifts brought by the Magi to the Christ Child.

Remember: The Wise Men were Gentiles, the first non-Jewish people to worship Jesus! This event, therefore, is an epiphany of God’s love for the whole world—the revelation that Jesus is not only the Messiah of Israel, but the King and Savior of all the nations of the earth. The Epiphany season then lasts from January 6 until Ash Wednesday.

 

Celebrating Epiphany

First, don’t cut Christmas short; celebrate all twelve days! In our house, we set up our creche well before Christmas—but baby Jesus doesn’t appear in the manger until Christmas Eve. Similarly, our three Wise Men start on the other side of the room and only make their appearance on the Epiphany!

Do something special on January 6. One tradition is to bake a King Cake, in which some trinket is hidden. Whoever gets the trinket wins a small prize—which could be a book, or simply the privilege of not doing the dishes!

Last—and most importantly—the entire Epiphany Season is a time to focus on the church’s global mission. Matthew’s Gospel opens with Gentiles worshiping the Christ Child, and closes with Jesus sending His church to make disciples of all the nations. So, during the Epiphany season:

  • pray for missionaries, especially those in distant or difficult places.
  • pray for the mission of the church—including the mission of camp!
  • consider ways that you can make a special offering in support of the church’s mission.

Maybe you’ve known about the Epiphany for years; maybe this celebration is new to you. In any case, why not make it a part of your year? After all, don’t we all need to be reminded of God’s amazing love for the whole world?

Dr. Craig Higgins is the founding and senior pastor of Trinity Presbyterian Church in the Westchester suburbs of New York City. Whenever possible, however, he is at camp, where his nametag reads “Resident Theologian.” His wife, Ann, serves year-round as camp’s Director of Development. They have three young adult children, all three of whom were campers, and all have been either LDPs, on staff, or both. You can find him on email, craighiggins@trinitychurch.cc

Your Story: Winter Reunion

Posted by on January 4, 2019

Your Story: Winter Reunion 2019

As I reflect on the Brookwoods and Deer Run Winter Reunion, I thank God for the opportunity to be a part of it. Approximately 130 campers and staff attended, ranging from campers, full-time staff, summer staff, LDP, SALT, and WILD. I attribute the success of the Winter Reunion to the Lord and thank Him for how He faithfully blesses the ministry of Camp Brookwoods, Deer Run, and Moose River Outpost.

“Your Story,” was our weekend theme, a spin off of the Toy Story movies. The supporting scripture was Ephesians 2:8 “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—.” Craig Higgins, former Brookwoods Camp Pastor, camper bible study author, and Senior Pastor of Trinity Presbyterian Church in Purchase, NY, was our guest speaker.

Craig communicated that our individual stories are important because they help us understand where we come from and that our stories are significant. As followers of Jesus, our story is God’s story—the story of Jesus Christ: Christ the Savior is born, Christ has died, Christ has risen, Christ will come again. But wait, the story does not end there, our story is a RESCUE story. The salvation story of what God has done through Jesus is an amazing story of incredible love, forgiveness, liberation, and resurrection. This is the story that defines my story, and your story. Because of God’s amazing grace, we have the freedom to live out our stories. We are free to worship, to live missionally-minded, and to live NEW lives. As we remember who wrote our story, we are empowered to go out into the broken world, to love all sorts of people, just as Jesus did, and to ultimately live out God’s story.

Whether it was building gingerbread houses, tubing, broomball, playing games with friends, lip syncing across the stage, or fellowshipping around the bonfire, campers and staff had an uplifting time at Winter Reunion. As 2018 came to a close, this was the charge we all needed. Not only are we ready for 2019, we’re counting down the days until Incoming Day where we can continue to empower campers and staff to live out their stories, as God intended us to do.

Blessings to you in 2019,

Ben Tabone

P.S. To see a video clip from Winter Reunion click here!

Ben pictured far right, Glen Boulder Trail, Pinkham Notch

Ben Tabone serves on our full-time staff and is looking forward to his second summer serving as Brookwoods Co-Director. He spent many summers at Northern Frontier camp in New York’s Adirondacks and more recently on staff at Camp Spofford in Keene, NH. ben@christiancamps.net