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Spiritual Practice

Epiphany

Today begins the season of Epiphany. On January 6th, we celebrate the arrival of the Wise Men at the manger and remember that Jesus’ birth was a gift to all the world. Reflect on the following excerpt from While We Wait, and let this day and this season encourage you to carry Christmas throughout the year.

The Magi come asking, “Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews?” Tradition has it that there were three Magi, probably because the Bible account names three gifts (gold, frankincense, and myrrh.) The names used for these Magi are Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar, and tradition also says that they are of three different ethnic groups, signifying that Christ comes not just for one nation but for all people.

In fact, that is what we celebrate in January at Epiphany: Jesus Christ as the Light of the world. We celebrate Christ as Light to the whole world, not as the Light to one small group in the world. . . .

Commentators have said we seem in a hurry after Christmas to box up once again our patience, our tolerance, our generosity and put them back in the attic, as if we can sustain good behavior for a few weeks but wouldn’t want to risk making it a way of life. We may also put away our willingness to give a bit more, to be more forgiving, even to be more patient in traffic as we often are during the holidays. Perhaps we even box up our desires to hope and our openness to miracles and mystery, as if the messages of the Christmas stories can’t quite survive the rigors of real life in the rest of the year. The Magi call us to continue our observance of Christ’s coming after December is over.

 

—From pages 93-94 of While We Wait: Living the Questions of Advent by Mary Lou Redding. Copyright © 2002 by Mary Lou Redding. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books.

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