Today is the first day of the season of Epiphany. The twelve holy nights of Christmas are over, and we are now in a new season, on a new journey.
I remember the first time I heard the word Epiphany used. I am embarrassed to say it was not that long ago. Maybe fifteen years. Someone spoke about having an epiphany. I had to look up what it meant.
But now, all these years later, this is a profound time of year for me. Because of my experience teaching at a Steiner school I have learned how to honour the season of Advent, the twelve holy nights of Christmas, and the season of Epiphany. I usually try to leave my tree up until the 6th of January. This year I took it down a day early but I left up my two creches.
This world could use some inherent goodness and purity.
And the gifts we bring to our moment of epiphany do not have to be gifts of great expense, or rarity, or meaning. THe gifts we bring can simply be an open heart, an open mind, and love for the other.
Whether that other is human, animal, vegetable or mineral. We can approach the four kingdoms of this planet with love.
Because when all is said and done - what we have on this earth is each other.
And you never know when you are in the presence of God.
Actually, you do.
We are always in the presence of God, because there is the divine in all of us.
Blessed Epiphany, dear Readers, and safe travels.
TS Eliot is one of my favourite poets, and this is one of my favourite poems. Today seems like a fitting day to share it.
The Journey Of The Magi
by T S Eliot - 1927
'A cold coming we had of it,
Just the worst time of the year
For a journey, and such a long journey:
The ways deep and the weather sharp,
The very dead of winter.'
And the camels galled, sorefooted, refractory,
Lying down in the melting snow.
There were times we regretted
The summer palaces on slopes, the terraces,
And the silken girls bringing sherbet.
Then the camel men cursing and grumbling
and running away, and wanting their liquor and women,
And the night-fires going out, and the lack of shelters,
And the cities hostile and the towns unfriendly
And the villages dirty and charging high prices:
A hard time we had of it.
At the end we preferred to travel all night,
Sleeping in snatches,
With the voices singing in our ears, saying
That this was all folly.
Then at dawn we came down to a temperate valley,
Wet, below the snow line, smelling of vegetation;
With a running stream and a water-mill beating the darkness,
And three trees on the low sky,
And an old white horse galloped away in the meadow.
Then we came to a tavern with vine-leaves over the lintel,
Six hands at an open door dicing for pieces of silver,
And feet kicking the empty wine-skins.
But there was no information, and so we continued
And arriving at evening, not a moment too soon
Finding the place; it was (you might say) satisfactory.
All this was a long time ago, I remember,
And I would do it again, but set down
This set down
This: were we led all that way for
Birth or Death? There was a Birth, certainly
We had evidence and no doubt. I had seen birth and death,
But had thought they were different; this Birth was
Hard and bitter agony for us, like Death, our death.
We returned to our places, these Kingdoms,
But no longer at ease here, in the old dispensation,
With an alien people clutching their gods.
I should be glad of another death.