Each year I am drawn more and more to the Epiphany chapter of the Christmastide story. I love the yearning and desire that have kept these wise ones reading, consulting, (were they praying?) in search of Light, in following that call. As I am launched into the new year, those Wise Ones, (who says there were only three?) leave me a template of questions by which to navigate the fresh, new days ahead:
- am I seeking wisdom constantly for the Star of Wonder, Star of Light for all my journeying–close to home or far away? where am I looking, listening, sensing the movement of the Spirit in study, in prayer, in conversation, in nature, in worship?
- do I have, and do I seek out, companions on the pilgrim way, those who are also seeking the truth to which the Star of Beauty Bright is taking us? In my present location, it can be easy for me to fall back into the inertia of habitual solitude, rather than commit to the company of seekers, whose presence and experience challenge and comfort me.
- am I brave enough to travel in the dark with only that Star to illumine and direct me? I have come to rely on predictions, maps, GPS systems, recommendations and constant contact by cell phone; can I learn to travel lightly, but surely, following the Light as it is shown to me?
- will I be discerning enough to separate the sly and conniving voices from the clear and trustworthy ones? do I need to sharpen my skills of listening in depth, pondering things in my prayerful heart, testing the spirits, in order to know the True North of the Holy One?
- when I find, as those Wise Ones did, that the place to which I am directed is something quite other than what I expected, am I willing to allow my expectations to be elastic enough to welcome the reality–a baby in a house instead of a royal palace designed for a king? Can I stay open and free enough to join Mother Mary in saying, “Let it be to me according to your word!”?
- will I allow myself to be overwhelmed with Joy, as it comes, as it flies, as it shines, as it lands on me? Yes, I know that there are heinous and hideous things that keep happening in and to the world. Yet, I want to be one who experiences Great Joy, and to be a bearer of that Joy to the worlds I inhabit.
- do I know how to worship the Holy One when I meet that presence? do I give enough attention to praise and gratitude as I worship? do I allow myself the luxurious discipline of being “lost in wonder, love and praise?”
- am I bringing the gifts I have to the service of the Holy One as an act of worship? can I open my gold–my bank account; my frankincense, my spiritual power–my voice, my presence, my vote; and my myrrh, my suffering–my tears and my empathy–each of them for the healing of the world that God loves?
- will I listen to my dreams, letting them warn me, comfort me, direct me, illuminate my inner self to my outer persona?
- am I flexible enough to go home by another way? could I throw away all those tips and markers I had learned to trust on the journey here and continue to trust that the Grace that has led me safe thus far will also lead me home?
I don’t make New Year’s resolutions any more, but I am prompted, encouraged and challenged by the path and process that the Wise Ones have laid out for me. The road goes ever on. Traveling mercies to all of us!