living liturgically (season one, episode seven, epiphany 2022)

Once upon a time, just over 2,000 years ago, some wise guys showed up in a town called Bethlehem. They had been guided there by a star they had seen in the east. It was a sign they had been looking for. So these magi showed up to see Jesus, who was now a toddler. The brought him so weird sort of gifts for a kid. Gold, frankincesne, and myrrh. I burn frankincense and myrrh incense for Jesus at the same time as either rose or precious rose for Mary. The gold was to recognize that the toddler was a king, the frankincense to recognize his deity, and myrrh symbolizing his death. That’s why they didn’t bring Pampers, they were focused on the future.

The power plays, however, had already begun. Herod, the king of Judea, was jealous of the wee lad, because he had heard the prophecies about his being a king. So this grown-ass man decides that the kid has to die. He had told the wise men to come by and tell him where Jesus was so that he could go and worship him, but God told the men to go home another way, and they did. God also told the Holy Family to flee Bethlehem, which they also did. Realing he has been tricked, Herod ordered all the boys under two in Bethlehem were to be murdered.

In living liturgically this Epiphany, I look at this story and I realize that I, too, need to see the star in the east. The star was a sign of the presence of Jesus, and I need to look for the presence of Jesus in my life. Not only did they see the star, but they had been actively watching for it. I need to actively seek Jesus day by day. When they saw this sign of the light of Christ, they travelled towards the light. I have been learning to keep walking towards the light, and the more I do so, the lighter it becomes. The light always overcomes the darkness.

Some of my previous involvement in darkness is coming to the surface to be exposed to the light of Christ and I have to say that honestly, I’m scared. I want it to be taken care of, to talk to Jesus about it, to take it to confession, to have it done with. Although scared, I know that the light is essential, and that the light overcomes the darkness. I don’t have to keep things in the dark. Despite my fear of it, I am beginning to process it. Jesus came to earth so that my shit would be forgiven, no matter how terrible it seems to me. I’m going to pursue the light, follow the light, live in the light.

Advent was the time of waiting with expectation and anticipation for the King, and Christmas was the incarnation, when that King, Jesus, was born, changing the course of human history. Now that the Savior is born, it’s time to acknowledge his presence and keep walking with his light. Those like me who have walked in darkness have seen a great light. The light is here, it’s time to keep walking.

Published by MaryClare StFrancis

MaryClare StFrancis is a writer who sounds as boring as hell but who is intimately acquainted with the horrific and the sacred. For a long time, darkness has been her friend, but she now walks in the light of Christ. As a committed Episcopalian, her main contribution to the church is her ability to make the priests facepalm or swear, depending on the day and context. MaryClare has a Master of Arts in English and Creative Writing and lives in Mississippi with her four children.

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