Epiphany 2020

Today is the Feast of the Epiphany, bringing the Christmas season to a close. So we move on to yet another new year. I have shared this in years past, but the feeling clings to me once again this year. That feeling is that I am ambivalent about how we express Epiphany in our lives and in our world. I want to believe Howard Thurman (on the right), but Auden (on the left) seems to be much closer to what I personally experience. Perhaps I can accept Auden as the quotidian reality and see Thurman as the aspirational goal.

However you see it, happy Epiphany and all the best in this new year

quoteWell, so that is that. Now we must
dismantle the tree,
Putting the decorations back into their
cardboard boxes —
Some have got broken —
and carrying them up to the attic.
The holly and the mistletoe must be
taken down and burnt,
And the children got ready for school.
There are enough Left-overs to do, warmed-up,
for the rest of the week —
Not that we have much appetite,
having drunk such a lot,
Stayed up so late, attempted —
quite unsuccessfully —
To love all of our relatives, and in general
Grossly overestimated our powers. Once again
As in previous years we have seen
the actual Vision and failed
To do more than entertain it as an agreeable
Possibility, once again we have sent Him away,
Begging though to remain
His disobedient servant,
The promising child who cannot
keep His word for long.
The Christmas Feast is already a fading memory,
And already the mind begins to be vaguely aware
Of an unpleasant whiff of apprehension
at the thought
Of Lent and Good Friday which cannot,
after all, now
Be very far off.

—W.H. Auden, from For the Time Being
quoteWhen the song of the angels is stilled,
When the star in the sky is gone,
When the kings and princes are home,
When the shepherds are back with their flock,
The work of Christmas begins:
To find the lost,
To heal the broken,
To feed the hungry,
To release the prisoner,
To rebuild nations,
To bring peace among brothers and sisters,
To make music in the heart.

—Howard Thurman


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