New Year Epiphany

Posted by: Richenda at Sunday January 6, 2008 in

Oi! Just a note. I’m scads busy. Yes, scads is now an adverb.

I’m finishing up the Fishers Landing book, and as usual it feels like I have SOOOOO much I want to do … Like I can’t wait. Like I just can’t live enough.

And I’ve had so much to think about lately that I wanted to post on this blog. A whole thing about comfort at Christmastime, and the ways we seek to find it, create it, ways that doesn’t actually bring any of it.

And I’ve been thinking…about the human condition, our struggles and our failings. And the story of the Magi, how after greeting Christ at the manger, after standing there, and the epiphany they absorbed, through their skin maybe like some sort of mystical, transformational THING. I love how Pastor Bryan talks about the moment at that manger. I mean, there they are in the presence of God. There they are in the straw of the stable. How can any of us come to that moment and remain as we were before?

So I wish that for you, this New Year. I wish for you to get straw stuck between your sandals and your feet and be at that manger. For today is Epiphany.

~

I walk toward Bethlehem. I am on the city streets, my sandals packed with dust. The crowd pushes me, jostling, my arms are bruised from the blows that take me from my course. The street sellers yell for me to buy something, buy, buy, buy. The weaver cries, too. What clothes are these? He asks. Is this how you present yourself?

And this is my life. The dust. The market. The slow dragging wagons and the heavy loads that slow my track.

Yet, amazingly, I make my way. A door stands ahead of me, just timbers lashed together and propped up. Rough, ancient, I think it might be made of ash or dust. From inside, a light is coming. It burns the door in silhouette and I blink and blink and blink. I want to see, but…maybe it is not what I dreamed of. Maybe the star cannot penetrate this deep into Bethlehem. Maybe this in not the way. The gates are thick and swarm with sellers who also call to me. Is this fire? I worry, the stable burns! There must be a reckoning at the threshold. What has been done that must now be accounted for? Will there be fire in the streets? I blink and blink and blink. I want to know. What is the source of that light? Is it wonderful?

And then, I am before you, Holy God. This Christmas, in Bethlehem, I have seen you. And I know this light is wonderful. I kneel on the straw of the stable as the angels whoosh their joy. I pray for courage. For this is not the final calling to account. This is the dawning of a new way. We have left the clamor of the streets, stepped aside, stepped away. The light streams out, into me, into the world. I think of the messy blisters on my feet, my aching back. Yet I am here.

I will return home, by a different road. Your light, a reckoning, Bethlehem, inside me. And I will say: Rejoice for we are blessed! The road ahead is wide open. There is no hunger. No one sleeps in the snow. Christ is born! And a stranger, God Himself, is comforted.

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