In this season of Epiphany, I remain captivated by the story of the Magi. These learned ones from the East found something so compelling in their encounter with the stars and the writings of many cultures that they put everything else aside and journeyed for months or perhaps years to find the one for whom they were seeking. When they found Jesus with Mary and Joseph, Matthew writes, “They rejoiced exceedingly with great joy.” Then they worshipped, offered gifts, and departed.
Over the past month or so, I have also had the opportunity to speak to several groups of professionals in the veterinary and mental health fields about maintaining spiritual wellness. One of the practices that I introduce in this teaching is maintaining the connection with the story of their calling into their profession. This story becomes a reminder and source of strength during the difficult times within our personal and professional lives.
As we prepare to leave the joy and light of Epiphany and enter the wilderness of Lent, perhaps this is a good time to be guided once more by the Magi as we remember our story.
I invite you to set aside some time in the next week to bring a journal to a quiet place, to enter into prayerful silence and ask for the Holy Spirit to guide and direct you, and to write your story. These questions may be helpful to start your writing.
- When did you encounter in prayer or in Scripture, in community or in solitude, or in the beauty of Creation, something that was so compelling that you were willing to set things aside to pursue it?
- When was a time that you encountered once again a glimpse of the fulfillment of that something, a moment of rejoicing with exceedingly great joy?
- How does your daily life connect to your life of worship?
- How are you offering your profession, your life, or your ministry as a gift to God?
- As you continue to journey either to or from these moments of ecstasy and encounter, how will you carry the story into the wilderness with you for strength and inspiration?