It’s the Feast of Epiphany! I love this one!
In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, asking, “Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage.” When King Herod heard this, he was frightened, and all Jerusalem with him; and calling together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born. They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea; for so it has been written by the prophet: ‘And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who is to shepherd my people Israel.'” Then Herod secretly called for the wise men and learned from them the exact time when the star had appeared. Then he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child; and when you have found him, bring me word so that I may also go and pay him homage.” When they had heard the king, they set out; and there, ahead of them, went the star that they had seen at its rising, until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy. On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage. Then, opening their treasure chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they left for their own country by another path.” Matthew 2: 1-12
Now, there is much to comment on about Epiphany….between the eastern and western traditions, the customs, folklore, liturgy, prayers, food (cake!) and so on.
But here is what I think about on Epiphany: Men came from afar. Far. Like traveled and schlepped and persevered. Following the glow of that star, with wonder and halting trust and maybe some arguing about the wisdom of such a journey (but hey, maybe I’m just projecting my own mode here…it could be…). But, for me, one of the nuggets is that they, quite literally, stepped out in faith. Followed, but a dim light (sure it’s a big ol star and all, but heck, it was DARK and it was far)….and they kept on taking the next step. They endured the journey. Persevered. They followed. They followed not because they KNEW for sure what was up or where they were going. They followed in faith. And, they were rewarded with seeing Christ himself. And a baby! Which is always an automatic grin, right there, but Christ and the Holy Family? Well, that had to just be a marvel and an awestruck wondrous smile. They could see touch smell stand in his presence. And I suspect, if we could but ask them, they would say that it was worth it. Totally.
Today on this feast, that’s what I’m holding onto. Following the light, hoping to stand in the presence and joy of that same light when I finally get there. In the meantime, following with hopeful perseverance. That’s my epiphany, today.
Happy Feast Day! Rejoice!