Sooo, this was the week some Christians celebrate Epiphany. I am not very good at Christian celebrations. I was not brought up in the C of E tradition. In fact, these things were frowned upon in our circles as IDOLATRY! there was probably a reason for that but I am not sure I can help you with it. Anyway, as far as I can make out Epiphany is the end of Christmas and
“A Christian feast celebrating the manifestation of the divine nature of Jesus to the Gentiles as represented by the Magi.”
(Looked that up from dictionary for you. That’s ok – you don’t have to thank me.)
We didn’t make much of the Magi/Wise Men/Astronomers in our church. We didn’t sing “We Three Kings” much (“Too much like an autobiography – not enough about Jesus”) I used to find this a bit of a disappointment. At school, it was always a chance for a singing solo as three people were always picked to be a king. The pinnacle of achievement was to do the Myrrh verse as that was the most dramatic. In my youth work years there was also a memorable occasion when the young people had been
forced encouraged to get together a Christmas choir for the shopping mall. They amused themselves on this hymn by starting the chorus “OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOHHHHHHHH—–STAR OF WONDER…” Sort of in the manner of a drunken rugby party. Many people who were doing their shopping seemed to be genuinely frightened. There were some frankly disappointing stories of some youth leaders melting into the crowds and pretending there was something pressing that had to be bought from the local ironmongers – never to return.
Anyway, leaving all that behind, when you look at the Wise Men, they were your actual heroes don’t you think? They had no Jewish tradition of the Messiah, no church background, no Christian Royal Family to protect them. Yet, armed only with a pressing conviction that something that they had looked for for years was actually happening, they set off to follow a star into a strange land whose leader Herod was beginning to feel like a cornered animal and behave accordingly. Yet off they went. They were determined to worship the new king no matter what. Their journey was not easy. All they had to go on was this star that they were following and a creepy king who had said – “Once you find the child – let me know so I can worship as well.” Yeh right. But there was no throwing in the towel, legging it back to the East and calling the whole thing off. They had watched, they had waited. The time to move was now and they were moving matey. They were a determined bunch and when they found Jesus, they were overcome with joy. Do you ever wonder what it was about this child that made them so certain that they were at the right place? I mean, at this point, he didn’t exactly fit the Great Messiah profile did he? But they knew.
Someone told me once that in life, all you need to do was to push on doors very lightly and then God would swing them open. If the door does not open, then it is not God’s will. I have not always found this to be the case. Not all my doors in life have burst open. Some have needed prayer, some have needed my discipline and hard work. Sometimes I have walked away from doors thinking that things aren’t “meant”. Yet sometimes, I have had to come back to a door and try again and again, and then have found my way through. Life is difficult, I have found. It was the same for the Magi, dogged, determined and faithful, they kept trying until they found what they were looking for.
I don’t really do New Year’s Resolutions. But if I did, I think it would be to continue to pursue the things in my life that I am supposed to be pursuing – to press on and be determined to get to where I need to be.
Happy New Year from all at Martha Towers
PS FOW1 if you are reading this at uni, your bedroom was a horrendous mess when you left to go back but your dad did find over £5 in loose change on the floor so we have a had a bottle of wine on you. You really should consider buying a wallet – or a peggy purse.