Today is Epiphany.
Yes, the twelve days of Christmas are over. We spent much of the afternoon putting away our Christmas and tidying up. And I made it through it. Only this year, I made no promises to myself about where we would be when the boxes were opened again.
So on with Epiphany, the day marked to honor the theophany of the infant Jesus to the Magi, the Wise Men. (theophany–my new word for today–it means “the appearance of a deity to a human”)
I love the story. The Magi set out looking for the one born to be King of the Jews. They had seen a star indicating that he had been born. They went to Jerusalem and started asking how to find him. When King Herod, a rather jealous king, heard about this, he became worried. He told them to go find this newborn king and then come back and tell him where the baby was so he could go and worship him too.
Yeah, right, Herod. I see what you did there.
The Magi continued on their journey, and then…..
11 They entered the house and saw the child in the arms of Mary, his mother. Overcome, they kneeled and worshiped him. Then they opened their luggage and presented gifts: gold, frankincense, myrrh.
12 In a dream, they were warned not to report back to Herod. So they worked out another route, left the territory without being seen, and returned to their own country. –Matthew 2:11-12, The Message
Here’s what I love most about the story. They were there for the right reasons. They were there to worship the newborn King, not serve Herod and his priorities.
But then there’s this–“In a dream, they…..”
When have you ever dreamed with another person? Never, right? So these Magi–some say scholars, others say kings–each of them had a dream…..individually. I’d love to have been a fly on the wall the next morning.
“Ummm,” one of them takes a big gulp of his coffee, looking for some way to put his thoughts into words. “I know we all were on board with this plan to go back to Herod and tell him so he can come worship as he said, but…..” Another gulp of coffee. “Oh never mind.”
Another one, slightly stooped as he rolls up his knapsack, speaks with his slow and deep voice, a voice that makes you listen for the wisdom therein. “No brother, what were you going to say? I want to hear it.”
The first one shakes his head. “No the lack of sleep and the excitement of the past few days, all of that has my mind a little mixed up. It’s nothing. Let’s head on out.”
Still another one, the youngest of the travelers, speaks up. “Well I don’t know about any of you but I didn’t sleep very well. I dreamt all night. And such vivid dreams. They gave me no rest or peace.”
The second man, finished with his journey preparations, leans against his pack and says, “Dreams? Really? Tell us about them.”
The dreamer shakes his head. “Man, I’m telling you, it was so real. But still nothing for us to base any decisions on. I guess I’m just worried about the trip back. That’s probably all it is.” He pauses. Then he slaps his thigh with his right hand and looks at the others rather sheepishly. “Okay, all right, y’all are never going to believe this, but I dreamed we shouldn’t go back to Herod….we should go back another way and head home without even stopping back by like we said we would. Is that crazy or what?!”
Eyes pop and mouths open with disbelief.
“I had that dream too!” “I can’t believe it, that was my dream too!” “But what can this mean?” “So should we follow what we were all told in our dreams or are we heading back to Herod?”
I love it. I don’t know that this is how it played out–all we are given is one verse for what I think is a very important part of the story…..they were told in a dream, they went back another way. The End.
But it’s not. As we listened to this story at Evening Prayer last night, I thought again about how this might have happened. Thank goodness they were obedient, yes, but I am really thankful that the first one spoke up about the dream. Can you imagine the tension inside each one (much like the tension inside of me when a dream is rambling around looking for a way out), fearing that he would have to be the one to share what his dream was–to the disbelief and scowling looks of his fellow travelers? That he would have to be the one to look crazy? And yet, share it he must. Did any one of them understand the real importance of the dream? The importance of obedience? Thank goodness at least one did. And it was a very good thing.
But here’s the lesson that sticks with me, in my mind and my heart, from this story.
Never be afraid to share your dreams.
Who know who else has also been given that dream to make it happen….with you?
And that’s what I know. In this year of “with,” in this life of with, I know that nothing I am to do is me and me alone. Our dreams can only come to fruition if shared with others, and if we all work together toward reaching that star…..it is there we will find the Gift it shines to honor.
Share your dreams, even if they seem crazy; who knows what good and right things can come from it?
For the fun of it, from a show we watched every Christmas. I seem to particularly remember Daddy loving this show–
Finally, a great song about dreaming from one of my favorite musicals–and yes that is Mr. Donny Osmond…..