Quantrilla (Quanny) Ard is a faith-based personal and spiritual development writer who lives in the DC Metro area with her husband Donny and three littles (Quentin, Dylan, and Logan). In addition to being a dedicated wife and mother, she is a entrepreneur, doctoral student, and curator of all things lovely. As a woman on her own quest of shining a light on the shadowy, hidden places in her life, she writes as the PhDMamma about things she knows to be true in hopes to encourage others to do the same. Her spiritual goals and her love for Christ propel her quest to share the spiritual journey with other women- to walk alongside them and encourage them with words, deeds, and wisdom. Quanny believes in the power in collective strength, community and fellowship. You will find her wherever people are sharing stories of triumph.
Adult and Littles
Read: Matthew 2:1-12
Reflect: After Jesus was born, the three wise men traveled from far away to visit Him. They asked Herod, who was king at that time, where they could find the Child who had been born “King of the Jews”. Herod became very afraid and called together all the people who could tell him where the Messiah was to be born. They told him of the words spoken by the prophet Micah,that said that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem of Judea. Herod figured out when the wise men had seen the star and asked them to tell him where Jesus was once they found Him. They followed the star until it stopped, and there they found Jesus with His mother Mary and they worshiped Him. They brought Jesus gifts of gold, myrrh, and frankincense. After visiting, the wise men took a different path home, because they had been warned in a dream not to return to king Herod.
Respond: Go outside with a parent or approved adult and look up in the sky at night. Do you see stars? Can you imagine yourself as one of the wise men who followed the star to find Jesus? What would you do? After thinking about what you would do, draw your best star Bethlehem star picture.
- Quantrilla Ard
Adult and Middles ( Elementary)
Read: Matthew 2:10-11
Reflect: Today, we celebrate the Epiphany. On this special feast day in the church, we remember when the three wise men visited Jesus. They traveled from faraway lands, and their visit is the first time that people outside of Jesus’ neighborhood learn about the birth of the Son of God. The wise men bring Jesus special gifts fit for a king. Just like today, gold was valuable and precious present. Myrrh was a special ointment or oil that was used to bless kings and important religious objects. Later, after Jesus dies, two of his friends, Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea, bring myrrh to wrap around Jesus’ body. Frankincense, an expensive perfume, is known to have healing powers.
Respond: Epiphany brings to an end the Christmas season. During Christmas, many of us exchanged gifts. What is a favorite gift that you have received? What made that gift special?
The three wise men gave gifts that were valuable and precious. Can you think of any gifts that you can give that are special but don’t cost any money? Together, create a coupon book with some of these gifts that both adults and children can redeem. These gifts might include: reading a book together, playing Legos, dolls, action figures, or tea parties, helping clean up a room, walking a pet, or volunteering your time for an important cause. These gifts of time and love can be as valuable as gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
Include in your coupon book a gift of love that you can give Jesus. This might include a promise to pray before every meal or read stories from the Bible or give to the church a portion of your treasure (allowance or other savings).
- Richelle Thompson
What gifts can you offer Jesus this year?
Adult and Bigs (Youth)
Miriam Willard McKenney
Miriam is a child of God who finds extreme joy parenting her three girls: Nia, 23; Kaia, 18; and Jaiya, 15. She and her husband, David, met at the Union of Black Episcopalians conference in 1981. Miriam works as Forward Movement’s Development Director, and also writes for their family blog, Grow Christians. She was a children’s librarian and school media specialist for 20 years before joining Forward Movement’s staff. She loves outdoor fitness in extreme temperatures, as there is no bad weather, just incorrect clothing choices. To connect with Miriam on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. She blogs at www.50favbags.com and the Forward Movement family blog Grow Christians. She is on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
Read: Matthew 2:1-12
Reflect: Do you pay attention to your dreams? Sometimes my dreams seem like a movie – I can see everything so clearly, and some mysteries are solved by the time I wake up. Other times I wake up in a fog and can feel that the dream was important, but I can’t grab hold of anything concrete to remember. I’ve heard that dreams are our subconscious mind trying to work on the problems we struggle with when we’re awake. I believe this; I also think that dreams can bring us closer to God and the voice of the Holy Spirit. God used a dream to convey critically important information to the wise men not to return to Herod. I wonder what would have happened to Mary and Jesus if the wise men ignored this dream? Did all of the wise men have the same dream? What would it be like for you to listen for God’s voice in your dreams?
Respond: Have all family members keep a notebook near your beds to record your dreams for a week. Don’t worry if you don’t remember everything that happened in your dream. Use descriptive words including colors, smells, and images that you can recall as soon as you awaken, even if they don’t seem to make sense. Share your dream journals and share insights about your dreams as individuals and as a family. Notice where your dreams intersect.
- Miriam McKenney
Adult and Adults
Carolina Hinojosa-Cisneros is a Tejana poet, freelance writer, and speaker. Her work focuses on faith and Latinidad and has appeared in On Being, SheLoves Magazine, Rock & Sling, and more. She has forthcoming work in Latina Outsiders: Remaking Latina Identity, Christianity Today, and more. She keeps a blog at cisneroscafe.org.
Read: Matthew 2:1-12
Reflect: While most of our western family has put away their Christmas tree and opened all of their gifts, a vast majority of Latino America prepares to open gifts today, our day of Epiphany. It is also known as Three Kings Day, in which families celebrate the three wise men who came to visit Jesus delivering gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Before their trek to pay honor to Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, the three wise men met with King Herod. He wanted the wise men to tell him if Jesus really was where the star indicated He was. The wise men had a dream that God wanted them to act on the contrary. After their visit with Jesus, they went back to their countries leaving King Herod outwitted.
The wise men did not have GPS, nor did they have an app to get them to Jesus. They arrived at Bethlehem because of a star. God had ensured that the wise men would be able to arrive at the exact place where Jesus was born. By their profound faith, they made it with their gifts. They did this with absolute joy. The Gospel of Matthew tells us that they were filled with joy to know that the star was still guiding them even after they met with King Herod. As our Central American family south of the United States border makes their way into our cities like traveling wise women, men, and children, let us trust, honor, and welcome the gifts they have come to share.
Respond: Have you put away your gifts? Take time to write down a gift you see in someone else. This person could be your friend, family member, or lover. Share with them this gift. Tell them how much their gift or gifts mean to you. This is how we honor Imago Dei in one another and we reveal each other’s gifts. We often hide or put away our gifts when God wants us to go the extra mile to share them with our friends and family. How will you honor your neighbor on this day of Epiphany?
- Carolina Hinojosa -Cisneros
Download a printable copy of this weeks reflections HERE.