Saturday, January 7, 2012

Epiphany - a time of gifts - even illness!

Gratitude Journal
1. Wise men
2. A Holy Story
3. Memory of previous Holy Days
4. Growth
5. Growth through weakness...

They entered the house and saw the child in the arms of Mary, his mother. Overcome, they kneeled and worshiped him. Then they opened their luggage and presented gifts: gold, frankincense, myrrh. Matthew 2:11

Spending time with a friend in recent days, discussing weakness. He has struggled with health issues - nothing grave, just a persistent cold - over the Christmas break. His faith journey attributes even illness as a possible 'gift' and tool for God to gain his attention.

My liberal, protestant faith refrains from saying God sends sickness, in any form, to anyone. God can and does work in dis-eased times in our lives for our good. But God does not 'cause' it...

In reflective times following our chats I have struggled. If God is in all things, and is all powerful and the ultimate creator, why is illness and even death part of our path? And from whence does it originate, if not from God? This is not a new question. I have tackled it many times and it remains a mystery for me today!

Epiphany is a time to remember the Wise Men of old. Not only their journey, but their gifts as well. The gifts - gold, frankincense and myrrh - represented perfection and purity. There is not hint in the 'three kings' narratives of anything less than the highest and best bowing down to the young Jesus.

If my friend is right and illness is used by the Holy Father to bring about redemption and restoration, maybe - just maybe - the next time I face less than good health (or even someone I love must deal with pain and physical suffering) I will be more open to that time as 'gift time' too. Maybe it can be not only a time for God to 'work in all things', but a time for me to work on my side and see within my journey what I need to offer back to God.