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I compose and post these articles with only one desire in my heart: to praise God and to offer modest help on your spiritual journey.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

ANYONE REMEMBER EPIPHANY?

You know you are old when all your references are to "when I was
young…" Well here I am an old man now (at least by the standards of
when I was young).

January 6th is the feast of the Three Kings finding Jesus in the
manger and bringing him gifts. Most Christians just include a
representation of the three kings in their Nativity scenes and assign
it to Christmas day. Orthodox Christians make it a major celebration.
In my youth it was the last day of the "12 days of Christmas". In
Europe it was the day for exchanging Christmas gifts among family and
friends. Nowadays most Christmas decorations are returned to storage
by January 6th. But Epiphany is worth at least a reflection.

Whatever the historical or mythic assignment you make to these three
men as either astrologers, wise men, or kings, they represent the
universality of the message of a God who does indeed care enough about
us to enter history. That is the powerful Christian message. Some find
it sufficient to talk about a divine power great enough to create our
world and universes beyond, but has left us in charge of the rest.
Others can accept a higher power to whom we must surrender. But a God
interfering in history, a God who becomes personal to us as
individuals is too wide a chasm to grasp. Not the least of which is
"why do bad things happen?"

The Magi whether historically real, or mythically presented to teach
us something, are in fact representative of those who seek truth
beyond their own known world and bring gifts worth appreciating. They
come to recognize in our midst what we may be blinded to recognize.
Despite the threat of power that may be threatened by the simplicity
of this truth, these three listen to a different voice and follow
where it leads. This is the voice of the Divine that each believer
discovers in their soul when they are open and attentive.

Thus Epiphany celebrates our universal family connected by the one
Creator of us all. It also forewarns us of those who will have to flee
like Mary and Joseph and become refugees with their new born child in
a foreign land. Truth, love, hope and innocence are always a threat to
power, wealth and greed. The forces of evil will always rally to
destroy that which is divine in our midst. Thus we are called as
believers to be particularly receptive and protective of the refugee,
the immigrant in our community. As believers we are invited to receive
the gifts they bring into our lives and our society. These gifts go
beyond materialistic items.

Lastly we might ask ourselves what gifts we bring to the Christ Child.
The song "The Little Drummer Boy" speaks to the essence of what one is
able to offer. The message conveyed in this, my favorite holiday song
and the actions of the three kings, is universal in Christianity –
generosity, acceptance, and appreciation.


Now that the gifts we've received or exchanged have been stored away
the question that remains is what we offer of ourselves to God.
Ultimately that gift is what makes us who we are as individuals. As
St. Peter says: "I have neither silver nor gold, but what I have I
give to you."Acts 3:6. There is no one so poor, so lacking of
talent, intelligence or imagination that God has not created as a
unique gift to be offered to God and for others. To recognize and
appreciate our own giftedness is to appreciate the gift of others. May
you be blessed in recognizing the delight God takes in you so you may
take delight in the gifts of others.

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