Christmastide is coming to a close tonight. Epiphany, or Old Christmas as they call it in the South, is upon us. "Arise, shine, your light has come," says Isaiah (Is. 60:1)
There is great debate in theological and biblical circles as to whether or not the Wise men from the East actually existed, let alone made this holy pilgrimage to the birthplace of the Christ-child (see Matt. 2:1-12). Nonetheless, in the religious traditions of the Church, the Magi (representing Gentiles, say biblical scholars) become part of the forbears of modern pilgrims today. As the biblical story tells us, they came from the East, following a star to the resting place of the Christ-child. Though they were told by Herod to come back and tell him exactly where this Child was, the Wise men followed the star, finding the babe and his mother Mary. And God warned them in a dream not to go back to Herod, "so they left for their own country by another road."
The mystery of the Magi following the shining star is an act of faith that it may bring them to the child who is the fulfillment of the prophet's dream. Many pilgrimage I have met along the way are also on a pilgrimage, journeying to a destination with little information, except that the inside gut feeling, inspiration of faith, intellectual curiosity, that we must move onward...sometimes on little as a wing and a prayer. I sense this some times when living in the middle of trying to build-up the School of the Pilgrim.
My prayer: that this single act of faith be an inspiration to those of us on pilgrimage in our daily life. May we all seek the light of faith in our daily pilgrimage.
Pilgrim peace, Brett