Yesterday our favorite babysitter got married. We met her when she was a kindergartner at the neighborhood playground with her family. Our oldest was only four months old, just big enough to sit in a baby swing, and she seemed like such a big girl. I posted about her a few years ago, when she was leaving home for college, and here she is again a few steps ahead of my big kids.
It's the perfect weekend to send a daughter off into her future, to say, "Here is my best gift, O God, and I am entrusting her to you." As I get older the mystery of the Magi stands out more clearly to me. If I'd had a treasure of my own, would I have entrusted it to the Holy Family? The baby might not have seemed very kingly, dressed plainly and in simple surroundings. The Epiphany celebrates a central truth of the Christian faith: the light of God shines forth upon the world. The Magi remind me that it's very easy to look for other lights instead. When I was a kid their travels seemed both magical and logical; now that I'm an adult it's easy to view their journey as more folly than courage. We should follow a...star? To a baby? With a tradesman for a father but somehow the kid is a king? And we should offer him expensive gifts and...adoration?
I'm given to overthinking things, as you might have noticed, and prone to suspicion. But a passage from Isaiah hit me between the eyes this morning-- "break out together in song, O ruins of Jerusalem." Perhaps the broken and abandoned can best see the extent of our redemption.
Tonight we are having an eastern-themed dinner, with tandoori-ish chicken and aloo gobi-ish vegetables, in memory of the men who undertook a crazy trip to bestow surprising gifts. It's been snowing steadily, and now the temperatures are plummeting, but we are cozy in our yellow house. It's been a day for knitting and board games ("tubifex" might be my favorite Scrabble play ever) and multiple readings of Angel in the Waters. On this Epiphany evening I am offering back these my treasures. I am thinking about the way the light is shining from our windows into the night and the blowing snow, and asking for grace-- that our home might be a place where the true Light shines out into the world.