I have been thinking about the 12th night of Christmas, that moment when following the Star of Bethlehem the Three Kings arrived at the stable bearing gifts for the baby Jesus; and this Epiphany has left me pondering not only the event, but the word itself. I recall biblical stories as interesting tales whose metaphorical interpretations can lead to spiritual growth. The word epiphany originally referred to insight through the divine, which sounds truly vital to me right now, as I look forward to this 2017, and try, with all my might, not to imbue it with a mountain of fear and river of dread. Instead, I’m calling upon the divine, shifting attention to the upcoming Feast of the Epiphany and creating a list of my own guiding stars.
I know Steven Stills memorialized the phrase way way back in his 1970 title track, but so many people still don’t get it, and are down right shitty to one another. I mean, I know the original message was about taking full advantage of the warm body next to you, but it was also about global peace: And there’s a rose in a fisted glove, And the eagle flies with the dove. It is about expressing acts of kindness to those across the globe and those closest to our hearts. It is about embracing refugees from Syria and making sure our homes are filled with love.
2. Don’t let anyone make you feel less.
This is partially an extension of my first epiphany, but it is slightly different, because often we bow down when we needn’t. You are the divine. You are potentially everything and anything, and if allowed to rise up, you will soar. Surround yourself with people who believe in themselves, and in you. This may not have been true yesterday, but do what you can to make it true today.
I say fuck politics. I also say get involved. Yes both. Forget national politics. We just sold our freedom to a posse of white, ultra-rich, elderly, conservative men. They do not give one hoot about your health woes, your empty factory, your disengaged youth or your poisoned water supply. Not one hoot. But your local politicians, those who legislate on the state level, those you see at the soccer field and dance recital or the grand opening of the Dollar Store, those people will listen to your earnest reasoning. They sit in the pews and the auditoriums along side of you. Those people need you to get reelected. Vote them in or out, and watch them as if your children’s life depends on it, because it does. If we want to get our country back in the hands of the educated and thoughtful, making strides within local politics is the only course of action. If you doubt my words, consider the newly elected Minnesota House Representative for District 60B: SIlhan Omar, the first Somali-American, Muslim woman. Three cheers for the voters in Minneapolis for bringing this new perspective to their governance.
4. Guiding Star
Find yours. Whatever it is. Your yoga practice or your rabbi’s words, your divining rod or your guardian angel, regardless, set a course toward your best self, and use your own spiritual beliefs to glimpse what that just might look like. Solo or with your congregation, catch a glimmer of those hopeful and healing and healthy and divine rays with regularity.
Everyday we receive a gift. As simple as the sunrise, and grandiose as gold, frankincense, and myrrh, gifts arrive for us. Perhaps, instead of being a nation of rabid consumers, we could become artisans and connoisseurs, exchanging with civility, grace, and gratitude. There is no end to the joy that we would manifest if this was the norm. Less greedy assumptions, more thank you cards.