Posted by Christine Nusse on Jan 8, 2004 | Categories: Seasons of the Spirit
We saw his star at its rising and have come to do him homage.

Matthew 2:1-12

January 6th, Feast of the Epiphany

I like this feast. In France, it is the occasion for eating a flat, pizza-shaped kind of pastry where a tiny reproduction of baby Jesus is hidden. The guest who gets Baby Jesus in his/her slice is king or queen for the day and gets a golden paper crown. Other stuff comes into play which makes ‘tirer les rois’ (draw the king) a lot of fun!

I read that Magi is a Persian (Iran) word meaning priests and seers; people who can interpret dreams, stars, and the occult. In the story, they set out from Persia to Jerusalem on foot -or camel- upon the promise of a star, on a sort of pilgrimage with no map but the sky. Once in Jerusalem, they inquire with the legal authorities, assuming these would know about the event. No one knew! But soon, all Jerusalem was talking about it and every theologian was scrutinizing the holy books. They eventually directed the Magi to Bethlehem. There, after many months of traveling looking for a king, they recognized him in the baby in the manger. They went back home, avoiding Jerusalem upon the counsel of a dream.

What I find so marvelous in this story is the way those Magi read the signs, be it the stars, the religious authorities, the infant in his poor crib, or their dreams. Seers, seekers.

The trilogy of the Lord of the Rings is also the story of a journey, a search, isn’t it? In both stories it would seem that the journey is in fact the search for signs. Or conversely, one must be first searching for something in order to see signs.

As for the here and now: I am bombarded with facts, news, infos of all kinds. Signs pop out of my computer that I know not how to turn off. People call at all hours. Junk mail! Those are only the unwelcome signs, but I have become a news-junkie and cannot go to sleep without my daily dose of CNN. And I live in New York City where walking a few blocks is like sitting through ten movie previews.

Hard to see a star, even a bright one, for all the neon signs!

What am I seeking? What is my star? Do I have a dream, something powerful enough to set me up on a journey of sort?

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