My Magi are interspersed with candles this year as they make their way to the stable. The first reading for Epiphany is delightful. From Isaiah 60:1-6, the theme is light: Arise, shine! Be radiant! What struck me reading it was how the promise seemed to be for me, for each one of us: The glory of the Lord has risen upon you! The Lord will arise upon you. His glory will appear over you. Your heart shall thrill and rejoice. How precious are these words.
In the Gospel of Matthew, the Magi followed the star which led them to the Child where they were overwhelmed with joy. Their hearts thrilled and rejoiced at what they saw when the glory of the Lord appeared to them. Do we grasp that the gift of Christmas is really the only Gift we need? Bring gold, frankincense and myrrh if you want in return–bring the very best of yourself–but we cannot out-give the Giver. God wants us to be radiant with joy. We are all given the choice of following the star. Some like Herod do so for the wrong reasons. His heart is blackened. He does not want the Light to penetrate it. Some of us believe our treasure chests are empty and that we are not worthy. A few of us believe that we are not part of this tribe. A handful of us might have stopped looking for signs long ago. The truth is that God longs for us to arise and shine. The Star-Maker scattered lights in the heaven just for me, for us, to see and be radiant.
After experiencing the mystical Light, the Magi left and returned to their country by a different road because they were warned not to return to Herod. These men returned home by a new way. Their hearts perhaps shone with something new that did not allow them to take part in something dark. What about us as this Christmas season finally winds down? Is there a newness that radiates forth from our hearts? Can we believe that this God who decorates the heavens cares about our path? This Star-Flinger promises us an abundance will be brought to us. Are we prepared to say thank you graciously?
We can walk our safe, known ways, even if they lead to darkness and unhappiness or we can try to choose the unknown, less familiar, and even downright scary avenue that God asks us to walk this New Year. If we do the later, I believe that each step will be lit with joy. When we attempt, even when our hearts tremble in fear, to follow the Star, our faces will have a certain radiance about them that is not of this earth. We all know those people who light up our lives. Be that person this year. Follow the Star. Walk in the lesser likely path. Try something that scares you. Open your heart so that it may thrill and rejoice. Join the Magi on an adventure and know that wherever the road leads you, the Light has gone before you.
What new path can you walk down this year?
Can you accept the glorious gifts that God wishes to shower upon you?
Star-Scatterer, fling Light upon my path and let my feet walk it with graciousness. May my heart thrill and rejoice at each step. May I be a radiant reflection of your glory. Amen.