This post is by Katie Jensen, our 2014 Liturgical Guide. Learn more about Katie and read her previous posts here.
During Epiphany we celebrate the coming of the Wise Men to visit Jesus. We celebrate the guidance of the star and the revelation of Christ to the world. In the Easter Orthodox tradition, they celebrate the baptism of Christ for the same reason. Epiphany means “revelation” or “manifestation.” It is the dawning of a new understanding and experience of reality. The Wise Men took the risk to follow the star and see where it would lead them. We too, often have stars we follow, things we hope for and journey towards.
What stars have you been following in the last year? Where have they led you? How is the journey going?
One of the stars I’ve been following recently has been the gleaming hope of a new job. Of course I began the journey thinking it would be a short and sweet one. The perfect job that relies on all my skills and passions within a healthy, well-functioning organization would be just a few miles away. Well, the journey has been much different than expected—much longer, over much rougher terrain. I see the star more clearly now; things are getting brighter. That means I also see myself better, and the world around me better. I’ve adjusted my hopes, my goals, and my expectations. This star is still ahead of me. I have not yet arrived, but it’s light on my journey has shown me many things—some easier to come to terms with than others.
When we step out of our artificially lit houses and face the night sky, it takes a long time for our eyes to adjust. It takes a long time to learn to see by starlight. Sometimes revelations or epiphanies come in an instant, but more often they are the slow work of learning to see in the dark, of letting our feet follow the stars.
As we begin this season of Epiphany consider what stars you are following. Where are they leading you? What are they inviting you to see?
1. Share your Journey of the Past Year
The Wise Men returned to their country with an amazing story to tell. Your present journey may not be so grand, but consider telling someone else about what your past year, your journey, has been like. What have you discovered? What terrain did you cross? What star were you following and where did it lead you? Telling stories changes lives—mostly our own.
2. Consider the Story of la Befana
This Italian legend speaks of an old woman whom the Wise Men visited along their way. However she, like many of us, was too preoccupied with her own small life to heed their invitation. Consider what you can learn from the story of la Befana. Click here to hear the story told aloud.
3. Bake a King’s Cake
In this widespread tradition, someone bakes a cake and into the batter mixes a bean, coin, or some other token. When the cake is baked and served, the person who finds the token in their piece becomes the King of Epiphany. For some, this means allowing this person to make the rules and receive preferential treatment for 24 hours. For others, it means they are “honored” with baking the cake next year. Some traditions add other trinkets to the cake, too. Click here for a great recipe from The Pioneer Woman.
The Wise Men marked their arrival with celebration and with gifts. As you consider your own journeys and seasons of arrival, how will you celebrate? And what will you offer?
Today I’m giving away a copy of the pilgrim-favorite, The Way, about a father’s journey along the Camino de Santiago de Compostela after the loss of his son. To enter, follow the instructions below. All entries must be made by Sunday, January 12 at midnight PST. The winner will be announced right here on A Sacred Journey on Monday, January 13.