“I have unclasp'd to thee the book even of my secret soul.”
- William Shakespeare, Twelfth Night
And so begins my most favorite part of these holiday seasons: the Epiphany. Finally, twelve days after all else have arrived, the Magi approach the house over which the guiding star shines luminous. Their journey was long and certainly tiring, but we hear no complains. Before Mary and Jesus they bow with their gifts as mysterious as they: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Their actions manifesting Jesus as a true human being; their deep bone humbleness toward such a wee baby (and yet the King of kings) something to be observed and meditated upon.
Everything about Catholicism is concrete, yet vague in a way. There is always an expectation to believe and have faith, and then to believe some more. For me, when I struggle with enduring a rough time, I call upon these wise men to carry me through. These tough, hearty souls who traveled long and far, never looking back and always trusting their inner compasses aligned with the star of Bethlehem. Not deterred by an angry King, nor disheartened by difficult terrain. I do not care if some think Jesus was born in the summer, or that he may have been a toddler when the three kings arrived. Some say that the story of the Epiphany is merely a glamorized retelling of rising Jupiter and Orion's belt. As with all great literature, I do not need specific details to take away an important whole. And for those who think the entire Book is a crock, I don't take offense nor press, but pity their decision- for all books have something to offer the reader and this particular story is brimming with insight.
With the Catholic version of Epiphany comes lots of pomp and circumstance too. The hoopla is where it's at! Our legend is rich with King's cake, talking animals, and favorite foods. Old Befana arrives with small treats and in turn, the boys leave treats for our woodland friends. Specific to our household, TS Eliot is read.
My week will be busy. Somewhere between Monday and Sunday I am bound to lose it-nearly give up-feel overwhelmed-be at a loss. That is when I will hoist myself upon a camel from the East and ask those noble gentlemen to lead me where they are resolutely going.