Traditionally this is the “twelfth night” – the last of the Christmas Season and candles are placed in windows to let the passing traveller know there’s a welcome inside. This links us with the journey of the Wise Men and the following of the Star of Bethlehem. They arrive at the end of the Christmas Season to remind us that as their journey concludes ours begins. Determined to find the Lord, they left palaces and attendants and the trappings of power and royalty to declare to all the need for the presence of the King of Kings in our lives. A timely reminder perhaps for governments and those in authority!
As a lover of technology I, like many, have become quite dependant on Satellite Navigation. I think it’s amazing and the technology’s ability to take me to previously unvisited places is always reassuring and welcome. It remains the case that the more accurate the information you can input before setting off on the journey, the better. This effectively means we need to have some fairly concrete notion of our destination. Like the Wise Men, we need to know where we are going so that we know what to follow.
I think the most reassuring thing about Sat Nav is that it will eventually take you where you need to go, even if there are a few mistakes along the way. Veer off the given course, there’s usually a little voice that says “re-calculating” and another version of the route is presented. This might happen more than once but all the re-calculations are rooted in the final destination and that’s where we aim for and ultimately reach. Occasionally too, we might get it completely wrong and face in the wrong direction – another prompt says “make U-Turn when possible”. We can never get to our destination if we turn our back on it. Often the “U-Turn” is the only way to go.
There’s surely a metaphor here. As we come to the Twelfth Night and stand at the crib with the Three, we realise their journey called for re-calculation and, quite likely, the occasional U-Turn. Indeed the most basic re-calculation they had to make was to decide to go home “by a different way” to avoid the treachery of King Herod.
Their journey is now our journey and their commitment to that journey is our challenge. Enter the destination details “I want to meet Christ” and the directions will follow. Yes, there may be wrong turns and denials along the way but listen for the “re-calculating” and the “make U-Turn when possible” promptings found in Liturgy and Prayer and the rest will fall into place ………..