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epiphanyLori’s epiphany post was, no great surprise, something of an epiphany. It was just what I needed. I’m one of those people who forgets that the Wise Guys, as we call them in our house, didn’t arrive while Baby Jesus was still a baby. This was, after all, a multinational effort and it took a while for everyone to get it together.

From the moment of his birth through his own ministry, Christ was an agent of great change.  Great change happens slowly.  Some of us would be capable of moving forward quickly.  But not everyone.  To get everyone there will take more time.

This week, I read about a football coach who wanted to boys to learn to work together as a team.  Before he sent them around the track, he told them that they had to stay together.  This meant running at the pace of the slowest player.

The first lap, the stellar athletes finished way ahead of the slowest athletes.  It was pretty much business as usual.  He stopped them and once again explained what he wanted.

The second lap ended much like the first. He explained yet again. “Watch the boys at the back. You have to stay with them.  You are in this together.” The third lap they finally finished together.

Us?  I think we’re still trying to get the message.

We have seen the star.  We are moving towards it.  It’s just going to take us a while to get there — together.


Those miniature mangers we keep around our homes at Christmastime are liars — they make us forget that the three kings (or magi) never hovered around Jesus’ birthplace to adore him along with the shepherds, angels and various ungulates. It took them time to get where they were going. In this, I understand and sympathize with them. It takes most of us time to see the way to God — years and years and years. As such a sojourner, I felt compelled to compose the following.

I didn’t get it
not at first
still don’t, not really
but the portents are present
and I can read them,
the words becoming old friends
to my tongue.
One of these days,
after crossing the desert
or the ocean
or the mountains — any of these
may be —
I will at last decipher the last
of the bent runes,
turn my map counter-clockwise,
realize that where I’ve been
is where I’m going
after all, and then
I will arrive, hot on the heels of magi,
with only my body of stardust to give.
It will suffice.

One of my favorite old shows is the Mary Tyler Moore Show.  In one episode, Mary had to work alone on Christmas Eve, and there was nothing for her to do, so my first thought was, “why doesn’t she surf the net?”  Then it occurred to me: there was no internet during the era of Mary Richards and the gang at the WJM newsroom.  It seems so primitive to be without the web!  I wondered if “BC” stood for “before computers.”

Life is like that too.  Anyone old enough to remember the Mary Tyler Moore Show is old enough to have had a Defining Moment, aka an Epiphany, and it can seem as if life is divided into two eras:  pre- and post-this event.

For some, it’s a divorce, or a death in the family.  For others, the beginning of a marriage or the birth of a child.  We’ve all experienced post-traumatic stress over earth-shifting events such as 9/11, and more recently, Aurora, as Lori wrote about in her post this week.

An epiphany isn’t always a warm and fuzzy thing.  It can change the way you perceive yourself and the world.  It can knock the wind out of your sails.

It can make you lose faith.

So how do you find a way to move forward when a singular event can change everything?

Re-group: Allow yourself time to sit with your thoughts (including doubt) and accept life in its new configuration, knowing that the tincture of time will bring you to a “new normal.”

Re-invent: The person you were prior to the epiphany may no longer exist, so adapt as circumstances change.  Let go of the past and trust in the One who holds the future.

Re-commit: Decide that life must go on even if you don’t have the answers you need.  Hold fast to the things you can count on, like prayer and the people you love.

So when you find yourself at the crossroads, remember:  with the compass of faith and the power of prayer, you’ll always find your way home.

Have a Mary Little Christmas

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