A peaceful silent vigil before the crib each day brings revelations far beyond the scene itself. A deeper understanding of who this Child is for us. I glimpse the Magi on their journey, coming in the distance, still following in the light-filled footsteps of expectation; of both welcoming and exchanging heart to heart with the Christ Child who has made his home with us. These are ‘Magi moments’.
It seems to me such heart to heart connections are essential in these times if we are to continue to be hope-filled people sustained by the certainty that in the daily challenges of our own journey we do not travel alone, but together. As Pope Francis said at a recent Angelus address (3rd January) “He came to dwell among us. He did not come to visit us”. See Pope at Angelus: God loves us in all our frailty – Vatican News
Tomorrow’s feast of the Epiphany (6th January) assures us that this Child came for all the peoples of the world. We can recognise Him throughout the daily heartfelt encounters of our lives – no less an ‘epiphany’ than that experienced by the Magi.
Life speaks to us all the time, all we need to do is to be able to respond to it. We do not need to search madly for enlightenment. All we need to do is pay attention to the world all around us and to not be afraid to recognise and share these ‘Magi moments’ together.
So let us all journey afar, let us follow that wondrous star recognising Christ’s presence in all our heart to heart encounters where in that moment of giving we already receive.
“Where shall I look for Enlightenment?” the disciple asked.
“Here,” the elder said.
“When will it happen?” the disciple asked.
“It is happening right now,” the elder answered.
“Then why don’t I experience it?” the disciple persisted.
“Because you do not look,” the elder said.
“But what should I look for?” the disciple continued.
“Nothing. Just look,” the elder said.
“But at what?” the disciple asked again.
“At anything your eyes alight upon,” the elder answered.
“But must I look in a special kind of way?” the disciple went on.
“No. The ordinary way will do,” the elder said.
“But don’t I always look the ordinary way?” the disciple said.
“No, you don’t,” the elder said.
“But why ever not?” the disciple asked.
“Because to look you must be here. You’re mostly somewhere else,” the elder said.
(“Where shall I look for Enlightenment?” in ‘There is A Season’ by Sr. Joan Chittister, OSB)
Note: The word Epiphany comes from the Greek meaning “to appear” or “to be made manifest”. In the western church Epiphany signifies the day that Jesus was shown to be the divine Christ; the day that divinity was revealed to the three wise men as they had completed their journey following that wondrous star; a journey which had taken 12 days, as they had travelled afar, or so the ancient story says.
Now Epiphany has taken on a more universal meaning in more recent centuries. Today when someone proclaims that they have had an epiphany they are usually claiming that they have experienced a sudden awakening to a new truth. These sudden awakenings generally do not occur in special settings. In fact what is usually significant is that they occur in a seemingly ordinary way. Like the Christ child in a lowly stable.