Into the west, they went riding, riding, following after the star… — Harry Noble, songwriter 1940
I didn’t think much about signs or symbols.
And I didn’t know at all what Epiphany meant.
However, I was always fascinated by the stories of the Three Wise Men, the Magi. The wise ones followed the star…the sign of the coming (appearance) of the Messiah.
“We Three Kings,” written by John Henry Hopkins, Jr. was a favorite Christmas Carol of mine since childhood. In later years, it would gradually become filled with more meaning for me each Christmas.
Now I enjoy the quiet times of the twelve days of Christmas leading up to the Feast of the Epiphany on Jan. 6 – also called Little Christmas – when the three kings found what they were seeking on “Bethlehem’s Plain.”
I like to keep the Christmas tree up until then. And I appreciate homes with Christmas lights still shining like beacons, through the dark nights after the holidays.
As the outer wrappings of Christmas are put away for another year, the real meaning of Christmas takes hold. And I sense a turning inward. I like to take time to pause and reflect about appearances of signs and symbols, guideposts along the way.
Winter seems the time, as in nature, to slow down our hectic pace…yet tune in to the guidance we are seeking. It seems a reflective time to “hibernate” a little, to pause in wonder, to restore our souls.
If we allow ourselves this contemplative season, who knows what we will discover?
The New Year is traditionally a time of envisioning life’s possibilities…taking inventory, sorting, redefining and setting new goals.
We each have our own moments of epiphany. New insights, new friends, our own “wise ones” appear on our journey. Do we recognize these visitors?
The Magi followed the guiding light of the star, bringing gifts. We too, can make each day of the year an epiphany. We can keep the light of Christmas glowing throughout the year before us by sharing our unique gifts for mankind.
(This was first printed in the Jan. 4, 1999 issue of the Fowlerville News & Views, Fowlerville, Michigan, where I wrote a column called Living.)
Star Search: Update 2013
It’s hard to imagine that I wrote this little column over a decade ago, in 1999, on the eve of the new millennium. It’s been a favorite of mine. At Christmastime 2013, I’m still searching.
Star Search: following that elusive star. It’s been a lifelong theme of mine, probably yours too. Yes, I’m still searching, traveling a never-ending quest to discover the gifts of Christmas. I still seek out signs and symbols; and beautiful wise ones appear on my journey. Amazingly, thankfully, I recognize them now. And life takes on new wonder with each New Year.
A few Christmases ago, a young wise woman from Germany sent me the gift of an angel. We’d met through an Internet forum; and we’re still on that same forum. These days, wise ones may show up anywhere…even virtual friends on the web. She sent me a sweet Alaskan angel pin from her travels that summer.
The angel’s dressed in winter garb. She holds a rainbow above her fur-capped head. The description reads:
“When nights are dark, and home is far, I will guide you with my star. Your path will be bright and filled with light of your little Alaskan Angel.”
As the light returns at Winter Solstice, may we keep that very light of Christmas glowing in our hearts…ever expanding it outward into our world.
May we seek what the star of Christmas inspires. ~ — Helen Steiner Rice