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Today is the Christian feast day of the Epiphany, celebrating the arrival of the Magi (also known as the Three Wise Men) at the humble stable where Jesus was born. One  definition of epiphany is “a sudden, intuitive insight into the essential meaning of something, usually initiated by some simple occurrence or experience”. The word is derived from the Greek word Epiphania, which means “to show, make known, or reveal.”

This is that time of year where we particularly look for such revelation, await some new perception, hunger for something fresh and hopeful and new; we have already lived through the shortest day and the longest dark night, and celebrated the big feasts of Christmas and New Year’s, and the deep cold of winter is settling into our bones, even as each day is noticeably longer than the one before. The time is right for Epiphany in all senses of the word; to reflect upon both the reality and the metaphor of the visit of the Wise Men bringing their rich gifts to the Son of God in a manger, to wish to experience that flash of personal insight that leads from or leads to the hopeful resolution made at the top of the year.

In all senses of the word, Epiphany is a gift; the gold, frankincense, and myrrh brought by strangers from afar to honor the birth of a King born in a stable; the unanticipated parting of the psychic curtain, allowing the light of truth to illuminate the winter-dark corners of the soul as it cries for such light.

We can seek our epiphanies by studying the lives of saints, heroes and scholars for lessons we can use; we can open ourselves to the unexpected, the unbidden, the unearned, the mystical magical gift of light that somehow comes when we need it most. I’ll take both kinds, thank you very much; both kinds have saved my life many times over.

I wish you epiphanies on this sacred feast day. Let the light illuminate you, through and through.


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