Friday, January 4, 2013
Epiphany is on Sunday and I love Epiphany. The first people to worship Jesus were pagans - foreign astronomers who put down everything to follow a star and a dream. And it took awhile. Their round about route from Persia to King Herod to Bethlehem took almost two years. They never made it to the barn or the manger. By the time they showed up, their treasure chests felt heavy with time and there was a full blown toddler to worship. Now the star was resting above a house. With a kid potty training or coloring or sitting in a time out chair.
Two years ago, dreams caused Mary to say yes, Joseph to stay, and wise men to travel. Miracles happened, faith was changed, and things got complicated. Anything normal and beautiful built since then in Bethlehem disappeared when dreams returned. The magi were warned of Herod's motives and returned home a different route - changed men, changed direction. That same night, Joseph was warned and they left the ordinary, familiar things behind. They slipped out of Israel by night, trading a home for homelessness, a place for exile.
The truth is, Christmas disrupts things. God in the flesh means warnings and saving and change. The rest of the Immanuel Story is not as cute as Luke 2. It gets messy with equal parts content, curious, mischievous, and giddy. When God breaks into the ordinary with dreams, moving us out of our own stuff and filling us with hope, life gets both scary and soppy. It moves us from the manger into the naughty and busy and joyful midst of a toddler who is destined to change our reality and sense of self.
On Epiphany I imagine two groups of footprints moving into the night - one to the east and one to the west. And then I imagine my own. Epiphany moves me, too. It moves me forward into new adventures - new manifestations of God and myself - all the ways I'm being changed by the soppy things.
Posted by Meta Herrick Carlson