Three days a week, I teach art at an elementary school. In my teaching, I have learned that there are two kinds of students who enter my classroom. One type of student is eager and excited to create, and the other type is hesitant and almost fearful of the creative process.
In my classroom, the rule is that my students must try. I tell them that what they make is their unique creation, and I promise that I will not judge it. Regardless of the outcome, I declare it to be beautiful and wonderful. I praise and encourage those who come with hesitancy, and I have learned that for those students it takes a measure of bravery to put paint (or marker, or crayon) to paper. When the courage comes to them, I will often see pride expressed on their face as they make something that is uniquely their own.
Like my hesitant students, it takes a measure of bravery for us to move out of the joy and warmth of Christmas into the uncertainty of Epiphany. Like those pagan astronomers from “afar” who left their home in search of the Christ child, we must also venture out. The magi had to see for themselves what the star was guiding them to discover. They suspected that the light was leading them to something amazing and holy.
Where is the light calling you? How is it asking you to be brave and courageous? Just like the magi, we are called to strike out on our own journey – a journey that will take us from our familiar place to something unknown. When we put away the gifts of Christmas and take down the tree, the work of dwelling with God is just beginning. The spiritual journey that lies before us will take a measure of braveness. We will have to reach down into the depths of our being, and honestly, we might not like what we find there. It will take courage to look within and then take the next steps – steps that will lead us to connect with our true selves, to know our souls, and to abide with God.
"Something beyond them was calling them, and it was a tug they had been waiting for all their lives."
Epiphany can be a wonderful season for those who are on a spiritual journey of transformation. The light beckons us to arise and shine. Barbara Brown Taylor speaks of the journey of the magi in this way: “Once upon a time, there were some very wise men who were all sitting in their own countries minding their own business when a bright star lodged in the right eye of each of them. It was so bright that none of them could tell whether it was burning in the sky or in their own imagination, but they were wise enough to know that it didn’t matter. The point was, something beyond them was calling them, and it was a tug they had been waiting for all their lives.”
Be brave…follow the tug of your heart…arise and shine for your light has come!