Today is Epiphany, the day celebrated in many Christian traditions as the occasion of the Magi, or the “Three Wise Men”, finding baby Jesus. We are taught that they followed a bright star in the sky to the baby. Last Sunday in church, the refrain of our familiar Communion hymn was:
“Star of wonder, star of night, star of royal beauty bright,
Westward leading, still proceeding, guide us to thy perfect light.”
I wish I could say somehow, with certainty, that I, that we, will find the Perfect Light this year, or even in our lifetimes. We do walk by faith in this Light all our days and all our nights. But maybe the words that resonate more today are the words “bright” and “still proceeding.” I was walking in our neighborhood a couple of nights ago and stopped to look at the few stars I could see. There was one that was very bright–and I thought maybe even royal-beauty-bright. In the midst of all the Happy New Year frenzy about resolutions and self-improvement and ever-present busy-ness that comes crashing in so soon after Christmas, I found myself wondering about how nice it was to simply watch this one bright star. There is time for all the rest–for the planning and new calendars and hopes and dreams for the year (and the years) that lie ahead. But just for now, just for this Epiphany Day, maybe we can rest in watching the star. In knowing that we are “still proceeding” and that we will always be “still proceeding.”
The Greek root of the word “epiphany” is “epiphaneia” or “showing forth, appearing.” May we know the Epiphany of the royal-beauty-bright star above us and within us as we “still proceed” into the days and nights ahead. May we allow time to let this season root and grow in us and to know apparent Grace.