In everyday parlance, the word ‘epiphany’ means a sudden, often poignant, moment of deeper understanding and revelation. Some would call it an Aha moment, when the ‘penny drops’ and a clearer perception of an incident, puzzle or situation, reveals itself in a new light. From the moment this ‘light bulb’ illumines our consciousness, we are never quite the same again.
In the Christian liturgical calendar, the Feast of the Epiphany falls on January 6, and marks the culmination of the Christmas season, when we commemorate the original manifestation of the Christ Child to the Gentiles ̶ represented by the Magi, or “wise men from the East” (Matthew 2) who followed the “star in the east” in quest of the new ruler of the people of Israel. Whether this star was an actual conjunction of planets in the nighttime sky, or a mythological component of the story, what matters is: the Magi were on an inspired quest or pilgrimage, at the end of which what they, and the wider world needed to know, was revealed.
What the Christ Child birthed for them, and for countless generations to come, was a new way of seeing and manifesting the possibilities of relationships: human, interspecies, interracial, and intercultural.
It is often in times of global recession or disease, like the pandemic the world is still reeling from, that we are reminded of the core human values, dignity, and divinity that we share. In other words: we can’t be whole, healed or awakened without each other.
Like the Magi from the East, our pilgrimage is one of relentless quest to understand the more that God wants to reveal to us. The more we can be in relationships outside our immediate orbit. The more we are called to understand the prophetic voices in our midst. And the more we are called to become beyond the hurts, divisions, prejudices, and polarizing ideologies that separate us as a divinely endowed human family.
Recognizing God Incarnate in all peoples, and in the entire created order, behooves us to remember who we are: We are here to make a difference—a beautiful and authentic difference in the world.
I believe we are not born to be victims of circumstance or hapless wayfarers destined to fall into ravines of misery and despair. I don’t subscribe to nihilistic musings of anomie and social disorder born of a failed human experiment. If this is how we perceive our existential lot in life, such a perception, in my opinion, is a choice—and a regrettable one at that.
We are born with Divine purpose and intention; it is individualized in each one of us and constitutes the essence (the nature) of Universal Consciousness itself.
There is a beauty, unity, and wholeness to divine consciousness and I believe we and everything in creation are living in an illusory sphere of separation and disunity, so that we can learn, evolve into, and ultimately come together in love and unity of body and spirit.
The tiniest seed in the soil at some level of its conscious beingness knows that its raison d’être is to one day become a magnificent oak tree of fractal beauty and fruitfulness. A matrix of cyclical life and elegance. A shelter of refuge and joy for birds and arboreal climbers. A thing of excellence to behold and admire—not with words; but with the tenderest reverence and wonderment of the heart.
As we close out 2020, perhaps we might ask ourselves: What did we lose this year? What did we find? What is it that we hope to experience in 2021? Who accompanies us, and who are we accompanying, in our quest for healing and wholeness? And how deeply aligned is the object of our desiring with our sense of mission in life?
Like the ‘Star of Bethlehem’ that guided the journey of the Magi, may we too be guided and accompanied in exploring the wellspring of relentless possibilities that lie within and before us in 2021.
(Author’s Note: this article was adapted from the first chapter of my book: ‘Do It Anyway: Deep Spirituality Meets Real Life’. Available on Amazon)