Most of the time we crunch Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany all into one in our time and culture. Christmas carols in November, Nativity sets with the Magi, and the change of the year. What a rush!
The season of Epiphany is a time of transition. Now that we have ushered in the birth of Jesus our Christ, we are met by the Magi. While the songs may tell us otherwise, they are not, in fact, kings (nor are they necessarily wise), but Zoroastrian priests and astrologers. (It’s not a particularly savvy move to go the king of a people and ask where their king is to be born; tends to make the current king less than excited.)
The fact that they are Zoroastrian astrologers and priests is significant for many reasons, but the special one is that, rather than rejecting outsiders, the story of Jesus is honored by those who are not in the fold, revealing (hence Epiphany) the importance of his arrival not just to his own people the Jews, or to the tradition that would become Christianity, but to the world. Jesus, like Zoroaster, the founder of the faith of the Magi, continues to point us to the light of the supremacy of love and justice in the world.
This season between Christmas and Lent is a time for us to celebrate the light of love coming into the world, just as the days are slowly beginning to get longer. It is also a time to ponder what this light means for us. What is the light of love revealing to us? Are we sharing that light with the world outside our walls? If so, how?
This is a time to ponder what our story is, so that when we step into the season of discipline, Lent, we have a better sense of what discipline to take on, in preparation for the metamorphosis that we experience in Holy Week and Easter. Let us be looking for that light, just as the Magi did in their time. It will shine in the expected places in our lives, and if we’re vigilant, we’ll likely be surprised where we find it that we didn’t expect it to be. May this season be full of light for you!