After the busyness of Christmas Day, life at the Rectory has been quieter this week; time for family, friends and self. It won’t last, so we make the most of it
I wonder how Mary and Joseph felt after that first night with Jesus? The long and tiring walk to Bethlehem; the desperate search for shelter; the drama of the birth; the strange tale of angels brought by the shepherd visitors: surely now they could rest. Mary would not be fit to travel for several days, and with the census complete and most of the visitors and officials gone, rooms would soon be plentiful. Time to rest and rebuild their energy; blissfully unaware that more visitors were on their way; unaware, too, of the trouble brewing.
Our picture shows three more visitors mounted on Llamas (Peruvian Magi) heading down the path blazed by a star. This star, bright enough to guide the Magi, yet unseen by Mary and Joseph who are unaware of the trail it is blazing to their door. Here, as they focus on their first child, on all that has happened in recent weeks and months; the rapidly approaching Magi are beyond their gaze. Perhaps it is better that way. There is only so much the human brain can absorb at one time. For the moment they are free to focus on the one task it is their privilege and joy to share; care for the baby God has entrusted them with.
We know where this tableau is leading; the Holy Family in exile, the pain and suffering of those caught up in the coming massacre. (Matt 2:13-18) We know, too, that none of those in the picture know any of this. Above all, we know that God is working his purpose out. For the moment, Mary and Joseph are left to relax and enjoy their new-born son; and the Magi follow the star in eager anticipation.
As 2021 gives way to 2022, we still face an uncertain future. For a moment, let us lower our gaze to the present and join Mary and Joseph; quietly relaxed and enjoying time alone with their new born son. Our Magi will arrive soon enough.
Rev Philip Payne Epiphany 2022
The Notice Sheet for 2nd January 2022 can be found here