Light Bulb Moment

“I had an Epiphany.” She’s had a “light bulb moment.” “The “lights have gone on” for him. We’ve come out of the “dark into the light.” We do speak like this. The metaphor of light is important.

We begin 2019 with the “wise” men and women coming from the “East.” They were scientists of sorts, it seems, interested in Astronomy. Stars were of interest to them.

They followed the “star” to the Child Jesus and worshipped him. They literally knelt down and did homage.

They brought three gifts. Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh. Traditionally they symbolise Kings, God, Death.

Why don’t we let the gifts symbolise three questions? For these questions manifest our fundamental human yearnings.

Gold symbolises the “social question.” How to organise our society, especially at times of great change? Pope Leo XIII (1878-1903), the first truly modern pope, at the time of the Industrial Revolution, noted:

Nothing is more useful than to look upon the world as it really is, and at the same time to seek elsewhere for the solace of its troubles.

Frankincense symbolises the “God question.” It is said of St. Francis of Assisi that he stayed awake many hours each night and asked, “God who are you and who am I?” He knew and loved God, but not well enough.

Myrrh symbolises the “death question.” To every beginning there is an end. But is that it? Does death contain with it, a promise of an encounter beyond our imagining?

The wise men had a “light bulb moment.” They had the “natural light” of human reason. But then another, more “brilliant light” appeared from within.

This “light” led them to the “Light.” They brought their social, God and death questions to God.

They “looked” upon things with great honesty and earnestness as we do. They sought “elsewhere” for solace.

And they found it.


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