On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. – Matthew 2:11, NIV
January 6. Epiphany. On this day, worldwide, many joyfully remember the arrival of the Magi, foreign dignitaries journeying from distant lands, guided by a star, bowing down and presenting gifts to a toddler. Not surprisingly, the meeting has inspired artists for centuries. One painting, “The Adoration of the Magi,” by Francisco de Zurbaran, kindles my imagination. My eyes are drawn to the one kneeling before the Christ child . . . That look! (see the close-in image) . . . It feels familiar . . . like a Pop Pop adoring a grandchild. It is as if this pilgrim is asking: “Who are you?” And “What do you want me to know?”
So quickly we advance to the gifts - gold, frankincense, myrrh. “Look what I brought! Allow me introduce myself! I cannot wait to show you what I bring!” Yet there they are, first following a star, then bowing down before the Mystery; worshiping in wonderment. “Then they opened their treasures,” says Matthew. Only then.
“Who are you?” And “What do you want me to know?” I invite you to imagine journeying through life in this manner: Approaching the Holy One with awe. And adoration. Asking first, “What do you want me to know?” -- About you, this situation, this choice, myself, this world? Imagine relating to others with a generous and holy curiosity, open to learning - “Who are you?” Imagine approaching own soul as a student - “What would you have me know?” Imagine the gift-giving that would take place then!
“The intention and decision to listen, pay attention, greet the world around us, and the Holy One with a generous ‘hello’ can be transformative” writes Pegge Erkeneff. Such transformation is the gift we offer one another as we travel together, paying attention with wonderment!
Star . . . Child . . . Creator . . . Companion . . . What do you want me to know?