The Magi gaze long and hard into the darkness. They spend years, perhaps, scanning that night sky waiting for the appearance of a certain star. When they finally spot that star, a star that is bright enough to follow, they set out on a journey. They take gifts of value and meaning: gold, frankincense; and myrrh. Never in the course of this journey is there any sense of jealousy among the travelers. They do not compare the gifts they carry, trying to decide which is best. Somehow, they have the grace to cherish and come to love each of the unique gifts that they are bringing, content that those gifts are enough. Somehow, the journey itself helps each to identify his personal gift, and each reaches the destination knowing its name. When the Magi reach the place where the Christ child is, they gesture their commitment. They do not just journey to this place; they stop and walk over the threshold, they enter in. Bending low, they open their gifts and surrender them, laying them at the feet of the child. They trust that each gift is received and is accepted. Then, in a completely unexpected turn of events, just as they have reached their long anticipated goal, they must abandon their intention to return the way they came. They are cautioned to go home by another route, ultimately because of threat or danger. They must find another way; the familiar and the planned will not work.
During this Season of Advent, where are you in your spiritual journey?
- waiting in darkness?
- scanning the night sky?
- identifying a light that appears bright enough to follow?
- setting out on the journey?
- following the star?
- identifying the gift?
- entering a new place and finding the Promised One?
- offering the gift? or
- returning home by another route?
From The Epiphany Cycle: The Spiritual Journey as a Creative Process by Marianne Hieb, RSM