An assembly about Epiphany
by Brian Radcliffe
Suitable for Whole School (Sec)
To explore our understanding of Epiphany, both as a Christian festival and as a moment of personal revelation.
Preparation and materials
- Have available an image that depicts a ‘lightbulb moment’ and the means to display it during the assembly. Examples are available at: https://tinyurl.com/yy4ejeyj, https://tinyurl.com/yxb7s5mv and https://tinyurl.com/y2uy2q83
- The story of the visit of the Magi to Jesus can be found in Matthew 2.1-12 and is available at: https://tinyurl.com/y2qjxqp6
You may wish to prepare a student to read this passage.
- Do you ever have moments like this?
Show the image of a ‘lightbulb moment’.
- A lightbulb moment. A bright idea. A moment when you suddenly realize something or understand something important to you. Teachers hope that their students will have many of these within their learning: the moment the penny drops, the clouds clear and it all makes sense.
However, it can happen in many aspects of our lives. It could be a realization about a relationship. Falling in love is a classic example of this, or its opposite, realizing that someone is a bad influence. It could be solving a puzzle, a way to tackle a problem. It could be clarity in making a decision.
Optional: you may wish to ask the students to discuss personal examples of lightbulb moments.
- Lightbulb moments can occur at all sorts of times. For one person, it might be the moment when they wake up; for another, it could happen just as they are drifting off to sleep. The latter option can be inconvenient because it usually results in being wide awake again. Even less convenient is the lightbulb moment that wakes you up in the middle of the night. Going for a walk or a bike ride can work for some people, listening to music for others. For some people, lightbulb moments occur most frequently when they are in the shower. However, a lightbulb moment can’t be planned, even though we can create the environment in which it’s more likely to occur. It’s always spontaneous and surprising - and more valuable for it.
Time for reflection
The official word for a lightbulb moment is an ‘epiphany’. It comes from a Christian festival day that is celebrated on 6 January. On this day, Christians remember the visit of the Magi, the three kings, to the baby Jesus.
Read the Bible passage Matthew 2.1-12, or ask a student to do so.
The Bible describes the Magi as bowing down and worshipping the baby. For them, this was a powerful religious experience, a lightbulb moment. For them, this was no ordinary baby. He was holy, a royal leader who was born to a life of self-sacrifice that would affect the whole world. You can see how their lives would have been affected from this moment.
Lightbulb moments like this are of great importance. They can sometimes be life-changing. For one person, it could be a moment of powerful religious experience that forms their beliefs for the rest of their life. For someone else, it could be a realization of priorities, of the direction that they must take into a career. For a couple, it’s the moment of commitment into a lifelong relationship. Often, it’s simply the moment that makes clear what must be done tomorrow.
So, let’s pause to think about lightbulb moments. How do we capture one?
Maybe we should start noting them down when they happen. We could use our mobiles or a notebook. Whenever we get a sudden inspiration or hear something motivational, we could note it down. It needn’t be in detail, just enough to remind us later.
Later in the day, we could allow some time to review what we have written down. Some will be unimportant, a random brain moment. However, there may be something significant that, if we take time to consider it carefully, might be the lightbulb that changes our life!
Pause to allow time for thought.
‘How far I’ll go’ (reprise) from the film Moana, available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l-64INXIolE (1.28 minutes long)
‘(What’s so funny ’bout) peace, love and understanding’ by Nick Lowe, available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N3r-TuIcK2k (3.34 minutes long) or by Elvis Costello, available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KCGlwx3L-Xk (3.32 minutes long)