Saturday, January 6, 2018

An Epiphany Meditation

Today is the Feast Day of the Epiphany, the last day of the Christmas season. This day is the one where we celebrate the visit of the Magi, the Wise Men who come to visit the Baby Jesus.  The Magi don’t miss the message of the star. They show up to do the work. They’re not lazing about hoping that something reveals itself. They are present and receptive to the message of the skies. They participate in the discovery of the message.

We might prefer the blaze of angel light, the night sky disrupted, the message plain and clear.  We might wish that we didn't have to rely on a lonely star, beaming its speck of light from such a great distance.  The wise men remind us of the Advent message, the value of watching and waiting and staying alert.

Too often, with both our Christmas story and our Epiphany story, we stay with the happy elements:  we focus on the baby in the manger, the arrival of the wise men, the happy crowd, all assembled.  We forget what happened next.  The journey of the Magi plunges the family into chaos, into flight, into refugee status.  These stories are not all sweetness and light.  Herod feels so threatened that he slaughters every boy in Bethlehem who is under the age of 2.  Forewarned, Mary and Joseph take their baby and flee for their lives.

Today is a good day to ponder the shadow side of this story, which is Herod, who stews over this vision that the wise men have given him. We might think about all the ways we turn good news into bad, of the ways that we stew over our thoughts and turn them into poisonous actions. We might make an Epiphany resolution to watch our thoughts carefully and to track our actions even more carefully.  We might resolve to help refugees who are still being plunged into chaos by the actions of despots.

Today is also a good day to think about wisdom, about gifts, about staying alert and watchful.  Let us not forget these important Advent and Christmas messages.  Most of us have already bid good-bye to Christmas and returned to our every day lives. Today is a good day to take one last Christmas moment, to recover our capacity for wonder, to delight in the miraculous, to look for the unexpected, and to rejoice in the amazing Good News of a God who loves us so much that the Divine One comes to live with us.

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