As the year 2019 comes to a close, a moment to remember all that has been could be beneficial. For many, it was a tough year with struggles and worries that threatened to be all consuming. Take a moment to look back. If you can see growth, understanding, a better sense of self, or a life changed or touched by your simple yet complex existence, hold fast to that vision. Imagine yourself as a character in a movie, allow those visions to flash through your mind until they become an invisible essence that, in the next brief moment, forms the expression on your face. What would that expression be? Would your face show contentment, anguish, frustration, or joy? For the character in the movie, that is never the ending. It is usually the beginning of something new, a new determination, a time of celebration, or a new understanding of what was, what is and what could be. And then the movie continues as the rest of the story unfolds.
“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
For me, this week is the best part of Christmas. The advertisements are slowing down, the need to shop has all but stopped, and most of the returns and exchanges have been made. And with a deep and glorious sigh, I now have time, time to rest in the Christmas season which will not officially end until January 6th. Growing up in New Orleans I think I took Epiphany traditions for granted. January 6 was an important day! It was, sadly, time to take down the Christmas decorations, but it also marked the beginning of Carnival season and my favorite treat the King Cake. Over time, as with many traditions, the significance of Epiphany has developed into something much more precious.
It is during this time that we reflect on the Magi, also known as the Wise Men, and the Star of Bethlehem. The wise men, traveling across the desert, saw a star. Knowing the Old Testament prophecies, understanding the stars, and recognizing that this one was new and in motion, they would have been compelled to investigate. Faithful to the promises made in history they would seek the Messiah, the Anointed One, the Savior.
When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy. Matthew 2:10 (NRSV)
As they entered the house and saw the child with his mother Mary, their reverence and adoration brought them to their knees. So much hope led them to this place, and in this moment they were given a miraculous gift.
The gift of unlimited access to the love of God was given.
In my mind, it is as if time stood still. King Herod, the wily and efficient ruler and a cruel tyrant, is forgotten and all the love that is God radiates in the room where the Christ child rests in his mother’s arms.
If we are wise, faithful to the promises and follow the light, we too are given unlimited access to the love of God.
Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path. Psalm 119:105 (NLT)
January 5th “Twelfth Night” by tradition I will add the “Three Kings” to my nativity in preparation for Epiphany. I will pause and contemplate the power in the moment when they saw the star, in the moment when they first laid eyes on the child, the Messiah, who was promised to the people of God, and in the moment when they fell to their knees and worshiped him. I will take out my Bible, and I will remember that we to have been given a guiding light. I will recognize that we too have been given unlimited access to the Love of God. I will let time stand still for a moment, and I will offer my reverence, adoration, and gratitude to, Christ, Emanuel, God with us.