Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Mary's Final Letter - Epiphany

In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, asking, "Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage." When King Herod heard this, he was frightened, and all Jerusalem with him; and calling together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born. They told him, "In Bethlehem of Judea; for so it has been written by the prophet:

`And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for from you shall come a ruler
who is to shepherd my people Israel.'"
Then Herod secretly called for the wise men and learned from them the exact time when the star had appeared. Then he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, "Go and search diligently for the child; and when you have found him, bring me word so that I may also go and pay him homage." When they had heard the king, they set out; and there, ahead of them, went the star that they had seen at its rising, until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy. On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage. Then, opening their treasure chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they left for their own country by another road.  Matthew 2:1-12

Dearest Aunt Elizabeth,

the most wondrous and thrilling visit happened today. Remember how I had told you that we had reports of strangers looking for our child? Well today they came to visit. They were wise, gentle men, dressed in exotic silks and splendid robes. They smelled of exotic spices and rich oils. They came into our little dwelling, this humble stable asking to see the king that has been born. They told us wonderful stories of what they had read from the stars. And they had followed a star here, right here where we are. They sat with us and brought us foods of all sorts - dates and nuts, fruits of all colors - more than I could describe. Much I had never seen before. We were overwhelmed! But that was not all.

They then presented their gifts, gifts fit for royalty. They gave us gold, frankincense and myrrh. Overwhelming riches and overwhelming generosity. We did not know what to say or how t thank them, They told us they were just doing their part. And then they shocked us by telling us we could not go home, that the authorities were looking for us. They had decided to go home a different way so not to reveal our location. They told us we were in danger, and that we must hurry and not look back.

Now we are packing up in quite a hurry. Joseph tells me he had a dream that verifies what the wise men said. He thinks we need to find our way into Egypt. He has some relatives there and people here are helping us with arrangements. All my dreams of coming home are gone. This will be the last letter I send for a while, until we are safe and no longer in danger.

Oh Auntie, it is so marvelous and scary all at the same time. God is surely guiding our steps and protecting us, but it is not how I imagined it at all. Just when I think I understand, the plan changes in an instant. Please send my love to everyone and pray for us as we journey on, with God's help.



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