|Posted by Joan Zabelka on January 7, 2014 at 12:00 AM|
The Polar Vortex, on this Feast of the Epiphany 2014, has sent parts of the US into the deep freeze. Social Media is inundated with posts of snow covered statuary, dogs in sweaters, mustaches crusted in snowcicles, and recipes for chicken soup. I know how many days it is to both the first day of spring and the first day of summer thanks to posts on facebook. Snowdays delight teachers and students alike, but depress them as summer vacation dangles out of reach for a few more days in June.
We are either “in the moment” on days like these or existing in escape mode. Which path are you on? Perhaps the Magi from 2000 years ago can be of assistance on dealing with extreme conditions, cabin fever, and the need for relief. These wise men traveled a great distance to visit a newborn king. The stars foretold His birth.
The astrologers paid attention to the story of the evolving universe as told through the movement of planets and stars. Whether you believe in astrology and horoscopes is not important. What we do know is there is a pattern of behavior in the heavens and there is a noticeable energy surrounding it. (Who can’t tell when there is a full moon coming?) The men – kings, astrologers, seekers – whoever they were, noticed something different happening in the sky.
These men studied the astral lineups. Something BIG was coming. They knew they wanted to be there when it did. I’m sure on one level, life went on as usual, but on another level they looked towards the future. Preparation to travel began so when the time was right they could leave. Perhaps there were some in the entourage who were excited, day dreaming, and too anxious to sleep. Others were practical and wondered how anything like this could be predicted in the stars. No matter, the Magi observed, prepared, and continued to fix their eyes on the stars as they were at the present moment. If you aren’t paying attention to what is going on right in front of you then how will you know when things change?
Besides observing the present, preparing for the future without getting caught up in it, they had a third important characteristic – they trusted. They were graced with trust to follow through on this quest. And so they did.
Their reward was a face-to-face meeting with Jesus Christ!
We can re-enact that same epiphany each day when we recognize the face of God in the people we meet. In our ordinary existence we can study what is going on around us, look for opportunities for something “big” to happen, and notice where we need to change. Like the stars, we can change slowly, imperceptibly, and remain on a heavenly path.
Help your neighbors shovel out their cars, allow someone to help you, laugh together over a cup of hot cocoa, and share your dreams of an early spring. There is something to be said for traveling together. The wise men did. They were support for each other on the journey. Each had their own special gift (gold, frankincense, and myrrh), but it was the combination and symbolism of the gifts that made them special.
What gifts do you have to bring? With whom will you share? No matter the time of year or temperature – the face of God awaits you.