Our Sister Phoebe, a Deacon

Theological musings inspired by the Spirit and totally Ellen…

>An Epiphany

>Christmas is behind the secular world for another 365 days, and fast another year comes before us. I work as a legal secretary for a law firm in the financial district of San Francisco and on Monday, we hit the ground running. Our clients were back in their offices and it was business as usual.

I had a hard time concentrating this week. I’d like to say that it was forgetting my medication three days out of five, but no, the images and words of Matthew’s retelling of the visit of the Magi to the Christ Child played over and over in my thoughts. I imagined what it would have been like for all parties in this drama – the paranoid king Herod, the mysterious seers, wise men, kings, whatever they truly were, the amazed parents living in a cave or something like it during the census in Bethlehem.

Popular culture has the Magi arriving in Bethlehem within hours of Jesus’ birth, when it reality, it was probably weeks, or months. I think Franco Zeffirelli’s retelling of this event in his series “Jesus of Nazareth” showed it best: the journey following the star takes several weeks, months, and they finally arrive where Mary and Joseph are lodged. Mary and Joseph with Jesus are returning from a day in Bethlehem and who should be waiting on their doorstep are three impressive gentlemen with their retinues and camels.

Well, I don’t know about you, but I’d be afraid, and a bit wary – okay, I’d be paranoid. Who are these people and why are they here, and why are they bringing my son these expensive gifts? Sure, the angel Gabriel told me that I was giving birth to a child who would save the world – but maybe I hadn’t thought it out, understood what it really meant. As a mother of three, I can tell you the months of pregnancy can be distracting as one goes through every day life. Maybe I’d fall asleep every night, looking at the baby in my arms, glancing over at the expensive gifts and wondering . . . can I do this? Can I be the mother of Emmanuel? More importantly, can I let my son be Emmanuel, can I let go and watch him become someone extraordinary.

Can I stand by and watch him die?

These thoughts were in my mind, along with the paranoia of Herod, who was worried that someone was going to take his job; how could someone want to kill a child? And the Magi, these men with education and wealth who come to pay homage to a little boy swaddled and no doubt sleeping in his mother’s arms. Looking at the baby, I wonder if the Magi smiled, and softened and let the infant grab a finger, made silly noises like all people do when they see babies.

What came out of these musings was a sense of hope and love.

The birth of a child comes from an act of love in most cases. Looking down at a newborn’s face, counting fingers and toes and wondering if he or she has Dad’s eyes and Mom’s nose, a sense of hope surfaces. With every child born there is hope for the world, there is a wellspring of promise and goodness, another chance for humanity to get it right with God.

And that was my Epiphany this week. A new year; a new child. There is love and hope once again in the world, and it’s up to us to keep that light shining.

Go in peace to love and serve the Lord!


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