Crown and Bough

Friday, 6 January 2017

Remember the Magi

Between today and the 6th of January, Christians everywhere will mark their doorways with the signs 20 + C + M + B + 16.  Caspar, Melchior, Balthasar, the traditional names of three mad kings who went away and were never the same.  Don't take my word for it.  Hear it from T.S. Eliot:

I love this poem for its brutal honesty.  Cause sometimes searching for God isn't all angels-on-high and rocks crying out.  It's hard work.  It's uncomfortable.  It means tears and sleepless nights.  It means traveling in the wilderness (waste land).  We think of the wise men following the star like a lighthouse in a storm, but Scripture doesn't say anything about the star leading the way.  They tell Herod, "We saw his star when it rose. . ."  The next thing we hear in Matthew,

After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was.  When they saw the star, they were overjoyed.  (NIV)

The magi saw the star as a summons, not a safety net.  They embarked on an arduous journey knowing neither when nor where the destination.  There is no mention of the star until it appears again over Bethlehem.  Between those two times, they made their way in darkness.

Remembering that they had seen the star, believing it, that's the epiphany.  That is faith.

(Reflection and photos from last year.)

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