Theophany

From the Prayer at the Blessing of the Waters:


The waters saw you, O God, the waters saw you and were afraid.


The Jordan turned back

when it saw the fire of the godhead descending in bodily form and entering it.

The Jordan turned back

as it contemplated the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove, descending and flying about you.

The Jordan turned back

as it saw the Invisible made visible, the Creator made flesh,

the Master in the form of a servant.

The Jordan turned back

and the mountains leapt as they saw God in the flesh,


and the clouds uttered their voice, marveling at what had come to pass,

seeing Light from Light, true God from true God, the Master’s festival today in Jordan;

seeing him drowning the death from disobedience, the goad of error and the bond of Hell in Jordan and granting the Baptism of salvation to the world.


Therefore I too, a sinner and your unworthy servant, recount the greatness of your wonders and, seized with fear, in compunction cry out to you:


Great are you, O Lord, and wonderful your works, and no word is adequate to sing the praise of your wonders!


Great are you, O Lord, and wonderful your works, and no word is adequate to sing the praise of your wonders!


Great are you, O Lord, and wonderful your works, and no word is adequate to sing the praise of your wonders!


Glory to you, Lord, glory to you!"



Ever since my children were very little I was sure to take a place with them right up front on the vigil of Theophany. They did their usual fidgety dances during the Divine Liturgy, squirming and pacing as little ones do, until the time of the blessing of the waters. Suddenly, each and every time, their attention became fixed on the actions of the priest as he called down the Holy Spirit upon the water. They would always ask about how it was that water could be afraid. They would want to know what it would have been like to see the river turn back it's course. "Did it actually flow backward?" , they would ask. When Father breathed upon the water, they would stretch forth their little necks to see if they could spot the Holy Spirit as He descended.

Great are you, O Lord, and wonderful your works, and no word is adequate to sing the praise of your wonders!

If truth be told, I always strain my neck to see as well.




Decorated Holy Water Jars

When one listens and hears the powerful blessings imparted to the sacramental Holy Water, it is no wonder that we would want to drink of it after liturgy, and then then take a portion of it home with us to help us, just in case we become afflicted with trials and troubles over the course of the coming year. My children are in the habit of keeping a jar of holy water in their bedrooms, in pretty decorated jars, to be used as needed, especially during the dark of night, against "vain thoughts and evil dreams".


All during Philip's fast, we start keeping watch for empty jars with smooth faces, like maple syrup comes in, with pretty screw caps that have no writing on them. On the occasion that they do, we would paint over it with spray paint, or even with nail polish, to cover the writing.


We then print out an icon, sometimes of the Theophany, sometimes of a patron saint, from the internet, sized to fit the face of the jar, and glue it, along with some sparkly craft jewels to the glass. A piece of pretty ribbon is then tied to the neck of the bottle as a finishing touch so that each of the children could proudly bring their beautifully decorated jar to liturgy on the feast in order to take some of that powerful, sacramental water home to his very own room.



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