The Feast of the Epiphany

Today is the Feast of the Epiphany and the Twelfth day of Christmas.

This is celebrated as the visit of the three kings/ Magi to see the infant Jesus bearing their gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.

In many countries e.g. Spain, this is the day when they exchange presents.

I came across this interesting piece from David Walker, the Anglican Bishop of Dudley in the Diocese of Worcester which I have edited and reproduced here.....

"In his brief and brilliant poem T S Eliot traces the path of the Magi, through “the very dead of winter” facing hazards, and challenges  on the road to their destination as witnesses of the newborn Christ.

 But as so often with Eliot, it’s the twist in the final few lines that takes the reader off into a new and unexplored dimension. For, whereas Matthew simply tells us that they made their way home by a different route, Eliot makes us listen to the travellers reflections on life after Epiphany:

…this birth was
Hard and bitter agony for us, like death, our death.
We returned to our places, these Kingdoms,
But no longer at ease here, in the old dispensation,
With an alien people clutching their gods.
I should be glad of another death.

Eliot’s insight is that, no matter how hard  the journey to a religious experience may be, the greater challenge lies in living in the light of that experience afterwards, among people who haven’t shared it and cannot understand it.

 Statistical surveys  show a majority of respondents are able to identify something that has happened to them that they would classify as a religious experience, and yet in most cases they haven’t found a way of integrating it into the rest of their lives.

As Eliot has told us:- the miraculous is the easy bit;
it’s after the journey is over that the real challenges arise.


Suem said...

Interesting blog, I have saved the link and will return- got the link from Thinking Anglicans. Journey of the Magi was one of the first Eliot poems I read, apart from the Cat poems for children, of course!

Philomena Ewing said...

Welcome Sue and Happy New Year to you. Thanks for dropping by and I am chuffed you find something of interest and I hope you become a regular reader/follower. I had a peak on your site and will go back for a deeper visit. Love your puppy pics !!