All this was a long time ago, I remember,
And I would do it again, but set down
This set down
This: were we lead all that way for
Birth or Death? There was a Birth, certainly,
We had evidence and no doubt. I have 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.
~T.S. Eliot from “Journey of the Magi”
Unclench your fists
Hold out your hands.
Let us hold each other.
Thus is his Glory Manifest.
~Madeleine L’Engle “Epiphany”
Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while.
The beauty of it smote his heart,
as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him.
For like a shaft, clear and cold,
the thought pierced him that in the end
the Shadow was only a small and passing thing:
there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.
~J.R.R. Tolikien, The Return of the King
Epiphany is the day of acknowledging God’s glory revealed in our lives, illuminating the darkness that surrounds us. With infinite heaviness and lightness we accept our new role as weak and crumbling vessels become beautiful as God is made manifest within us.
It is not the easy path to accept the ultimate freedom that requires our true sacrifice of self, just as it was not easy for the visiting magi traveling far from home — or for Mary saying yes to God even as her own heart is pierced by what that means for her.
Today we too shall say yes, trusting Him as we take His offered hand.
“Like Mary, we have no way of knowing… We can ask for courage, however, and trust that God has not led us into this new land only to abandon us there.”
~Kathleen Norris from God With Us