I’m one of those people who gets pretty excited to take down the Christmas decorations because, despite how much I adore them, I love that fresh, clean slate. This year, however, I decided to leave a few bits and bobs up – mostly, the dried oranges, evergreen boughs, and nativities. After all, it’s still epiphany until Lent begins and this might actually be my favorite church season to celebrate: the season of light.
The Magi came to Christ by a star. They weren’t Jewish men, long awaiting a personal and communal Messiah for their people. They were men of a different culture who studied nature, stars, signs, and prophecies. And when they saw the Light, they knew it as such. They worshipped and obeyed it, without any prior knowledge or reason to do so.
Stories like that of the Magi are sprinkled throughout scriptures – stories that speak of events mystical, too fantastic almost to be real. We applaud those who saw and knew, who read signs, believed prophecies, followed and obeyed the wonder. I fear we are too concrete, too logical, and that we are missing something vital. We’re focused on the darkness instead of noticing “peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains…. a white star.” We forget, like Frodo and Sam, that we’ve been gifted a powerful light, one to guide us “in dark places, when all other lights go out.”
In these last weeks of Epiphany, I want to be a pilgrim searching for light. Amidst darkness, tragedy, and discord, I want to look to the scriptures, look to the created world, and seek out the gifts God has bestowed on us through them. Not forgetting the concrete, but neither forgetting the mystical, I want to remember the God who parted seas, provided manna from heaven, was born of a virgin, and walked on waters. I want to recognize that the Light I follow defies logic, even though He is the one who named the rules the world was to abide by.
“The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has a light shone. In him was life and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness and the darkness will not overcome it.”