The Light is Coming …

Dawn at Trillium Lake

Trillium Lake, Oregon. Photo: William Woodward (CC BY-NC 3.0), 2014.

Anna is back in school this week, which means no more sleeping in for anyone. We are up at 6:20 a.m., and because it’s winter and we live in Oregon it’s still dark.

It’s dark when she says goodbye to Julia, who leaves for work at 6:30 each morning.

It’s dark when she gets her mini-breakfast (the small snack she has when she gets up to hold her until her “real breakfast” at school).

It’s dark when she brushes her teeth and gets dressed.

It’s dark when she feeds our two guinea pigs and checks their hay and water.

It’s dark when she packs her lunch (on the days she packs lunch instead of getting it at the cafeteria).

And it’s dark when we walk to the bus stop together, and she gives me a hug and kiss goodbye.

Every morning now, and for the next month or so, we will start our day in the dark.

But the light is coming and that’s what today is about. The light that came into the world at Christmas is the same light that the Magi sought out when they journeyed to Bethlehem. They were only the first of many who would come to that light. Soon, nations would stream to it and a humble birth in a stable that was probably a cave used for quartering animals at night would become the most celebrated holiday in the world.

The light is coming, as sure as the sunrise. And as at the sunrise, the darkness will flee before it.

Before him.

Something to remember when the darkness gets you down. The light is coming.

Cheerleaders of Faith

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An Epiphany Blessing

The Magi on camels crossing the desert.

James Tissot – The Magi Journeying (Les rois mages en voyage) – Brooklyn Museum

From CatholicCulture.org.

This ceremony of the blessing of the home and inscription of the initials of the three Magi above each door can be performed either by a priest or the father of the family. This is from the book The Twelve Days of Christmas by Elsa Chaney.

The feast of manifestation, or Epiphany, is traditionally celebrated the 12th day after Christmas, January 6th. In the dioceses of the United States this feast has been moved to the Sunday between January 2 and January 8.

Prayer:

On entering the home,

Leader (Priest, if present, or father of the family) : Peace be to this house.
All: And to all who dwell herein.

All: From the east came the Magi to Bethlehem to adore the Lord; and opening their treasures they offered precious gifts: gold for the great King, incense for the true God, and myrrh in symbol of His burial.

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How Do We Honor Him?

The Magi on camels crossing the desert.

James Tissot – The Magi Journeying (Les rois mages en voyage) – Brooklyn Museum

Sunday was the Feast of Epiphany, when Western Christianity commemorates the visit of the Magi to the Christ Child. The Magi honored the infant king with gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh, and that got me wondering:

How do those of us who call ourselves Christians honor Christ each day in our own lives?

Perhaps we go to church each week, pray daily, and read the Bible regularly—all of these are good things, but are they enough?

The Prophet Micah asked God what kind of honor is required: “With what shall I come before the LORD, and bow myself before God on high?” (Micah 6:6)

And God’s reply?

“What does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8)

Jesus himself is even clearer when he describes the judgement:

The King will say to those at his right hand, “Come, O blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.” Then the righteous will answer him, “Lord, when did we see thee hungry and feed thee, or thirsty and give thee drink? And when did we see thee a stranger and welcome thee, or naked and clothe thee? And when did we see thee sick or in prison and visit thee?” And the King will answer them, “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.” (Matthew 25:34-40)

This is how we honor Christ: when we see him in the least among us and act accordingly.

January is Poverty Awareness Month. As we think of the Christ Child’s birth in a stable, with no real roof over his head and no crib but a box of hay and we think of the Magi who humbled themselves before him and presented him with lavish gifts let’s pause and think of all the children living in poverty today. Ours is the wealthiest nation on earth and yet every day children are hungry and homeless. This is a great dishonor to the one who took on our humanity and came among us as a poor child himself.

So what are we going to do about it?

This post is part of the One Word at a Time Blog Carnival hosted by Peter Pollock. You can read more submissions and add your own here.