It’s Epiphany! The day that we celebrate the mysterious wise men who come from the East to visit the Baby Jesus. Herod tries to trick them into revealing the location of this baby whom he believes threatens his empire, but we know that the wisemen were warned in a dream to avoid Herod and go home by another way.
That must have taken some courage. After all, they could have just gone back the way they came. They knew that path. They would know what to expect. Where to stop for lunch and where the clean bathrooms were. A new route could hold all sorts of unexpected obstacles. Plus, they knew by not returning to Jerusalem, they were inviting the wrath of King Herod. And he was not someone you wanted on your bad side.
How fortuitous that Epiphany comes at the beginning of our calendar year. A time when most of us are considering the path we want to take over the coming year. A time to take stock of how we’ve done things in the past and a chance to do it differently, should we so choose.
I know. I know. We’re all more than a bit weary and still somewhat shell-shocked from the havock that COVID has wrought (and continues to wreak) on our lives. The idea of forging a new path, finding a different way forward or blazing a fresh trail seems much less appealing than sticking with what we know, embracing the familiar and staying on the roads we have traveled before
But it is my hope and prayer that more of us will choose the path of the Magi. That we will have the courage to venture into new places and spaces. That we will make peace with the potential for getting lost along the way. That we will seek service over selfishness, peace over power and value our potential to create change over our currently comfortable position.
This year, may we choose the way of the Magi and be bold enough to wander into unknown territory in service to the Christ child.
Rev. Anne Russ is an ordained pastor in the Presbyterian Church (USA), currently based in New York City. Doubting Believer provides tools and encouragement for the rollercoaster ride of your faith journey. Follow me on Facebook , Instagram and YouTube. You can also follow on TikTok. Get emails to keep up with all that is happening.