I'm a big fan of being a part of the Catholic Church, (if you hadn't guessed;) One of my all time favorite things about being Catholic is that we celebrate Christmas for 12 days...all the way up to the Epiphany of our Lord! So while everyone else has their trees laying in the trash, and lights put away, we're still over here partying with the baby Jesus.
When we were little, my parents would even keep a present back from Christmas for us to open on the Epiphany, so it was basically Christmas round two. Apparently I'm too grown up for that now or something silly like that.
Anyway, basic lowdown on the Epiphany: Three wise men traveled from far away Eastern lands, by camel, following a bright star, and bearing gifts, all the way to the manger that held our Lord. Pretty sure when I was born, the farthest anyone traveled to see me was like a half hour. Not bitter or anything but, I mean, I don't even think they rode camels. Lame. Back to Jesus, the gifts of the wise men may seem odd in our world of technology and the next best thing. But as with everything in the Church, there is deep symbolism within this story to enrich our faith. St. Caesarius of Arles wrote, "In the gift of gold royal dignity is indicated, in the smoke of the frankincense divine majesty, and in the appearance of myrrh humanity which is destined for burial." With just those three gifts, the essence of Jesus is portrayed. He is not just a king, but THE King, completely divine and completely human.
However, it was not only these wise men who reacted to the birth of baby Jesus. In fact, according to St. Gregory the Great, "When the king of heaven was born, the heavens knew that he was God because they immediately sent forth a star; the sea knew him because it allowed him to walk upon it; the earth knew him because it trembled when he died; the sun knew him because it hid the rays of its light." How beautiful that the entire Earth reacted to the coming of its Savior!
This post is getting really quote heavy, sorry, but there is just so much good stuff out there from so many smart people! Last one, I promise, from Pope Benedict XVI, "The Magi set out because of a deep desire which prompted them to leave everything and begin a journey. It was as though they had always been waiting for that star." Oh, how I love the wisdom of Papa Ben!
The more of these daily reflection posts I write, the more I am seeing a trend. In this story, the wise men, "leave everything and begin a journey," to our Lord. And isn't that what we are called to do? Leave everything extra, anything holding you back, and follow that star. As I look forward to the rest of the year, I'm challenging myself, and you, to take a hard look at where/how you spend your time. If something is holding us back, lets leave it. Heaven is worth it.