I have loved Christmas, but more of my life is like the Epiphany story. It is a story that lives with me all year long.
- The Wise Ones gathered the wisdom available to them. For them it was in the stars. Where I live the stars are not always so readily visible; too many city lights and pollution keep them blanketed. But wisdom is available for those who seek it, and for me. It comes in ancient texts, in the ebb and flow of nature, in casual and serious conversation between friends, in the Spirit that lives in us. And it is readily available. Among the invitations we are given as readers of Christian texts is to ask for wisdom from the Holy One, who gives generously and ungrudgingly. Am I willing to ask for, then look and listen for God’s wisdom in my life in the coming year? do any cultural quick-fixes have the Wisdom that I need?
- The Wise Ones saw the star clearly, but the surrounding scenario was formidable: miles to go, foreign territory to traverse, other competing stars leading is many other trajectories. My imagination tells me that there would have been some back home who criticized the journey; and who knew what they would find when they arrived and where it was they were going? Yet they were faithful to what they knew to be the way for them. Will I in this coming year be faithful to the wisdom I am given to go where I am called to go without detour and faltering?
- The Wise Ones had stamina and perseverance that kept them going. Maybe the fact that they traveled as a group made a difference. It’s harder to quit when there are more than one in the traveling party. Left to my own devices, I can easily turn back when there are things that go bump in the night, spanners in the works, diminishing numbers of Balance bars in the saddlebags. But with a gaggle of us, I am more powerfully persuaded to keep searching and going in the right direction, if not for my own sake, then for the sake of the others, and for what I have said my heart longs to find.
- The Wise Ones gave what they had out of who they were; they did not seem to need to be concerned about whether a refugee couple with a tiny tot could really use gold and frankincense and myrrh, or how and whether it might be re-gifted. They gave what they had, even as later in the Gospellers’ stories, the widow gave her 2 mites and Mary poured perfume on Jesus’ head and feet. What do I as one who wants to be wise have to give out of who I am? I question myself in Consumers Christmas, when I can’t compete with other grandparents and others friends who seem to have the capacity to give lavishly perfect toys and fashions. But can I recognize the gifts within me to bring out of wonder, love and praise? And can I feel the winds of Spirit Freedom to offer them with my whole heart?
- The Wise Ones were willing to see the Light where it was–in an unprepossessing place, with unassuming folk. It wasn’t what they expected; I wonder if one of them thought secretly, “I came all the way for this!” But seeing where the star led them, and stopped and stayed, they trusted that this was where the Holy One resided, and they worshiped and honored him there. Am I eager and willing to see Christ wherever he shows up in my world, and will I so practice open-heartedness and reverence, so that I may see the Christ in each one I see?
- The Wise Ones were flexible enough to go home another way. In this season of my life I find I want to go with the familiar, the usual, the well-traveled routes, but for my welfare and the welfare of the world, I am often called to go another way. Will I be willing to take alternate routes this year?
I am eager and blessed to celebrate Epiphany today and in the year that follows. Also with you!