Jennifer Wake shares how military families can use holiday traditions like Epiphany to remember that God is in control.
Holiday Traditions: Epiphany for Military Families
by Jennifer Wake
After the Thanksgiving meal is done, we love to watch football and prepare.
Prepare for what, you may ask.
We prepare to decorate our house on Saturday so we are ready for the first Sunday in Advent.
We don’t put away our decorations until the Saturday after January 6th. January 6th is called Epiphany.
When my husband joined the military, I thought I knew what military life was like based on the stories he told me and my experience moving every two years growing up. Alas, nothing prepared me for life in the military. Don’t get me wrong, I love being in a military family. I love to meet new people, see new places, and learn new things.
But the moving… just when I feel like I know the best places to eat, find a hairstylist who does what I want, and get an appointment with a good dentist, the orders arrive.
Time to pick up and move seems to happen every eighteen months to two years for us. Moving means a new job, new discoveries, and new friends. New can be good but it can also be scary and overwhelming. Moving overseas brings many conflicting feelings–excitement, hesitancy, adventure, homesickness, weariness, and wonder.
Epiphany for the Military Family
Epiphany reminds us of the traveling wise men. They came from the East and stopped to see Herod, who wanted to know what they were doing in his territory. They told him about following a star to find the King of the Jews. Herod let them continue to meet Jesus.
After listening to the king, they went on their way. And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. And going into the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh. And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way. Matthew 2:9-12
They got to meet Jesus and give him gifts. We do not know what happened to each gift. But they each represent part of Jesus.
Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you, for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.” And he rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed to Egypt and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet, “Out of Egypt I called my son.” Mattew 2:13-15
Joseph listened to an angel from God and moved Jesus and Mary to Egypt. They fled to protect Jesus and only returned after Herod died. Epiphany reminds us of God’s protection and provision for His Son and for us.
God Knows Where We Are… All The Time
When Uncle Sam sends us to the middle of the ocean on a ship, beneath the seas, in a barren desert, in remote cornfields, in desolate mountains, or high in the sky, God knows where we are.
He is constantly aware of our needs.
Many nights as I rocked my sick children, I could only rest because I knew God was watching over us. In every separation from dangerous deployment, to the time we stayed in New York while my husband moved all our stuff to Kansas, I knew God was taking care of him and us.
Practicing traditions like Advent and Epiphany not only keep our family feeling close despite the distance, they help us remain close to God. It can have a similar unifying effect on the greater family of God, the universal Church of believers.
Epiphany reminds us all of Jesus’ royalty, priesthood, and humanity. He knows everything we face, and our King and High Priest still chose to die on the cross for our sins. Epiphany reminds us of God’s great gift as well as His ultimate sacrifice. And that is good news worth sharing!
How will you remind your family and friends about Epiphany?
We love hosting people at our house for an Epiphany party to remind them of the Wisemen coming to Worship our Lord, our High Priest, and the Son of Man!
Be sure to check out our Advent Playlist on YouTube!
If you want to learn more about Advent check out our explanation of the five candles that represent Hope, Faith, Joy, Love, and Christ.