I am just back from a week in California where my husband and I celebrated Christmas with family and friends. We enjoyed lots of long hikes, some wine-tasting, dinners out, plucking lemons by the dozen from the back-yard lemon tree and we submitted to numerous games of Twister with the resident 6 year-old who is far more nimble than we are. We arrived home in Mechanicsburg on New Year’s Eve just in time for the “Wrench Drop” and a late night dinner of chinese food, and then it was back to the office on Monday to a full desk of messages and plenty to do.
And then... along came one of my favorite feast days of the year: Epiphany.
Epiphany is a day of light, of joy, of “recognizing Christ” and... of marking the lintel and ditching the tree.
This year, the Feast of Epiphany delivered a series of petition-prayers on the wings of the Holy Spirit for our consideration this week:
May we all be blessed with a spirit of inquiry and openness that launches us in new directions…
May we be alert and aware of subtle changes around us that give us new information…
2:1 In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem,
2:2 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."
May we be blessed with the wisdom that things powerful and wonderful often come from the most homely and ordinary origins.
2:3 When King Herod heard this, he was frightened, and all Jerusalem with him;
2:4 and calling together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born.
2:5 They told him, "In Bethlehem of Judea; for so it has been written by the prophet:
2:6 '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.’"
May we be willing to listen and bold enough to explore places where we feel uneasy or uncomfortable in our search for the Truth
2:7 Then Herod secretly called for the wise men and learned from them the exact time when the star had appeared.
2:8 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.”
May all of our journeys be led by a steady and sure sign… and may we have the strength and persistence to continue until it is clear that we have arrived.
2:9 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.
May we see the blessings in our lives. May our hearts be filled with joy.
2:10 When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy.
May we know humility, discover the gift of true worship, and be exceedingly generous.
2:11 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 may we be wise, listen to the urgings of the Holy Spirit, and choose, deliberately, the path of peace.
2:12 And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they left for their own country by another road.