In all the hustle and bustle of getting ready for Christmas, it's easy to forget that the Christmas season lasts 12 days - and the rest.
By the time we have slogged through the preparation and anticipation of Advent, we reach that final carol of the Midnight Watchnight Service, our excitement tinged with relief and weariness.
And often, the Sunday between Christmas and New Year is seen as the final opportunity of the season to sing all those Christmas Carols that we held back on during Advent.
So, by the time the first Sunday of the New Year rolls around, we forget that we haven't celebrated those wise visitors from the East.
We're anxious to remove the decorations and get back to our routines.
We miss out on our Epiphany - literally and figuratively.
And we shake off the impact of the Incarnation.
We distance ourselves from the disturbing persistence of God with us.
Perhaps it's a coping mechanism.
A means by which we avoid confronting the darkness of today that is more than a match for the darkness that accompanied the backlash of slaughter and repression that followed the Magi's enquiries about the birth of a king.
If we remove the Christmas clutter and tidy away the tree, we can move on through the year.
On the other hand, if we linger around Bethlehem, awaiting the gifts and the wisdom that are on their way, awaiting the dawning of light and embracing that light to lead us forward, perhaps we can take the Incarnation with us into our hurting world along with the wisdom and the gifts that will enable us to confront the powers of darkness that affect the children of our world today.
The Magi -
was their visit worth the wait?
It took them some time
to follow their star
and wind their way
to the birthplace
of a king.
And on the way
they stirred up
an evil regime.
Their gifts betrayed
into the life
of the one
they sought to honour.
And they knew
of their lifetime's work.
They received their Epiphany -
and created for us
to be dazzled too
by the light of the One
Born to be king.
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