I love the word ‘epiphany.’ 

Epiphanies are those “ah-hah!” moments in life when we suddenly ‘understand’ … ‘get it’ … ‘gain insight’ into the nature or meaning of something (or someone) we hadn’t grasped or understood previously.

Many around the world are celebrating the Season of Epiphany beginning today, January 6th.   Its origin began long ago, when it is said that a star guided three Magi to travel great distance to pay homage to the baby Jesus.  Not surprisingly, the image of a star is often seen as a metaphor for bringing light in the midst of darkness … a darkness of any kind: physical, emotional, spiritual, political, financial, vocational etc..  In the western and northern parts of the world, it is winter – a time of darkness.  Throughout the world, with the growing rise of ‘strongman leaders’, the light of democracy is slowly being extinguished.  Welcoming the Epiphany through images helps to bring light – in our homes and world. 

I’ve been enjoying “light” since the beginning of the Season of Advent.  Royal blue lights appear on the tree the four weeks before Christmas (for the Season of Advent).  Red and green lights are added on the tree for the Season of Christmas and its Twelve Days of Christmas.  And just before heading off to bed last night (Twelfth Night), the coloured tree lights were removed and white tiny lights for the Season of Epiphany took their place on the little branched white tree and this year, on the artificial green tree that’s been ‘up’ since four weeks before Christmas.

That white branched wooden tree is relatively new for me.  When I saw it in the local hardware store several days after Christmas one year, and learned that the store manager wanted to just about give it away as he didn’t want to dismantle and store it, I thought I would buy it and share with children at the local church as a Jesse Tree (if you’re curious about this, a ‘search’ for Jesse Tree on the Soulistry blog –  https://soulistry.com/blog – will introduce you to that tradition).   Sadly, there were no children in that church, so I decided to keep the tree and turn it into an Epiphany Tree.

I’m glad I did, as I love it!  It contributes in a new way to my “winter tradition” of keeping the symbol of light everpresent in this home for much of our dreary-weather winter and is a constant reminder against dreary-politics.   

In addition to the Epiphany Tree (a tree made of branches, or wood, painted white with white lights woven around its branches and trunk), here are some other ideas which might lend themselves to your adoption of the Season of Epiphany as the Season of Light in your home.  

*Handmade Origami paper stars … I suspend them from the leaves of indoor plants (even the fig plant one year – see photo below), across mirrors, on windows and on the Epiphany Tree.  They’re easy to make (YouTube has easy-to-follow videos), are a creative outlet, simple to do, and remind me of the Star the Magi decided to follow.   Over the years, as I work on and string the paper stars in various places, they become a prayerful metaphor that I be guided in making wise decisions that day/week/month/year.

* Tiny white lights … appear around the house in many
places.  They weave their way through plants as well as on the Epiphany Tree reminding me to welcome the Light that comes into the world through ordinary people of all religions, no religious belief, ethnicities, sexual identities, abilities, races, etc.) who bring kindness, caring, gentleness, peace, patience, goodness, compassion, love, hope, and is a gentle reminder for me to give thanks for these ‘bearers of light’ each day.  I give thanks for the ‘bearers of light’ in hospitals, care facilities, ambulances, Covid testing facilities, paramedics, fire and police stations.

* Play S.E.W.  During the Season of Epiphany, I play “S.E.W.” (Star Epiphany Word).  What is S.E.W.?  Rather than focus on my frustration when I hear people using the word “so …” (far too often it seems) I think of the “so” homonymn: “S.E.W.” and let it be a reminder of my Star Epiphany Word which I hope will guide me in some way to a transformative self-growth epiphany. 

This year, my S.E.W. is the word “create.   I want to *create* … create more Soulistry reflections … create special handmade cards for friends and shut-in’s …  create change in my health … create more opportunities to play … create ways to bring light into the world around me in terms of kindness, compassion, social justice. 

What about you?  How can you encourage Epiphany to make a difference in your life this year?   Perhaps you could
Choose a S.E.W. to guide you in the coming year
… String tiny white lights somewhere in your home
.. Make origami stars and suspend them on windows, plants, doors
Create an Epiphany Tree
… Light some white candles and bring light into the darkness of the winter evenings
... Think of ways you could be the light in the world around you and bring the light of patience, generosity, forgiveness, gentleness, self-control, thoughtfulness, goodness, compassion, kindness to others and your self so that work of Christmas doesn’t stop with Christmas. 

As educator, theologian and civil rights leader Howard Thurman wrote:  “When the song of the angels is stilled, when the star in the sky is gone, when the kings and princes are home, when the shepherds are back with their flocks, the work of Christmas begins: to find the lost, to heal the broken, to feed the hungry, to release the prisoner, to rebuild the nations, to bring peace among the people, to make music in the heart.”  

While the Season of Epiphany can last anywhere from 40 to 63 days (because the date of Easter changes each year), for however long the Season of Epiphany lasts, may it be a Season of Light in your life and this pandemic world, and in its own way, continue “the work of Christmas.”  Happy Epiphany!


© June Maffin   https://soulistry.com/blog

As always, you are welcome to share with others and comment here.


Epiphany Origami paper stars on fig tree.
Epiphany – Origami Paper Stars strung on mirror.
Epiphany Tree in the front window where metallic, crocheted and origami paper stars have begun to appear. Something tells me that more stars may appear on the Epiphany Tree next year. 🙂