(Article is by guest writer James Jarrett. See bio below.)
After the twelve days of Christmas in the Christian liturgical year, January 6 is the Feast of the Epiphany. Also called Three Kings Day, this feast commemorates the visit of the magi to Jesus and Mary in Bethlehem as recorded in Matthew 2:1-12.(1) One message of Epiphany is that whatever love and good has been manifested in the world through Jesus of Nazareth, it is for everyone—not just a particular tribe; ethnic, religious, political, or otherwise.
According to the dictionary, an epiphany is also, “a sudden, intuitive perception of or insight into the reality or essential meaning of something, usually initiated by some simple, homely, or commonplace occurrence or experience.”(2)
Epiphanies are on my mind as our eldest daughter got married the day after Christmas this year. As I considered what I wanted to give her and her husband as they embark on seeing life together, I compiled the following epiphanies that have come to me—sometimes suddenly and sometimes gradually—throughout my life.
On your wedding day and in the years ahead…
May you be free from suffering and the causes of suffering.
May you sense a wholeness that includes the lack.
May you come to know and to trust how much you are loved.
When you feel like the luckiest people in the world…
May you give thanks.
May you delight in each other.
May your analysis give way to wonder.
May you remember that this too shall pass.
When conflict erupts or lies dormant between you…
May you each find the strength to remain true to yourself and your own deepest values while staying close with each other.
May you each give space to the other by learning to self-soothe your own anxieties.
May you each become skilled in non-reactivity.
May you become willing to tolerate discomfort for growth in your relationship.
May you each be led by your integrity rather than driven by your pain.
When life becomes unmanageable…
May you come to trust that any power greater than your own ego can restore you to sanity.
May you be held onto by many supportive communities.
May your own experience of being loved grow as you serve other people.
May you have the serenity to accept the things you cannot change, the courage to change the things you can, and the wisdom to know the difference.
When you need relief from distress…
May you return to the present moment.
May you recall all of the people who have loved you into being.
May you breathe in and breathe out with your hand on your heart.
May you have courage to feel whatever you feel even for a moment.
May you become curious about the places in your body that are able to safely hold your pain.
When the crap passed on by your families of origin becomes too much…
May you trust that compassion surrounds and infuses even your conditioning.
May you have courage to speak to us about the harm we have caused you.
May you forgive us our shortcomings.
May you learn from our mistakes.
When you wish things were different…
May your illusions serve you as long as you need them.
May you be enveloped by beauty when they fall away.
May you allow yourself (and life) to be as you are rather than how you wish you were.
May you find a refuge in impermanence.
May you be supported by interconnection with everyone and everything.
May your curiosity lead you.
May you realize there is nothing to realize.
May you discover the divine in the faces and stories of the people you encounter.
May you always be companioned and surrounded by love.(3)
These practices and awarenesses continue to help me. Will they be helpful for them? I hope so. Probably when they need the help and not before. The help may come from something in this list of wedding blessings or it may come some other way. For, it is the nature of an epiphany to come to us when we need it and in a way that is unmistakably for us.
The Spiritual Naturalist Society works to spread awareness of spiritual naturalism as a way of life, develop its thought and practice, and help bring together like-minded practitioners in fellowship.
SNS strives to include diverse voices within the spectrum of naturalistic spirituality. Authors will vary in their opinions, terms, and outlook. The views of no single author therefore necessarily reflect those of all Spiritual Naturalists or of SNS.
1 Account can be found at Matthew 2:1-12
2. From (Dictionary.com)
3. Sources: The Buddha, John of Patmos, David Schnarch, Bill Wilson, Reinhold Niebuhr, Mr. Rogers, Deborah Grassman, Frank Ostaseski, Jesus of Nazareth, and me.
Also, for a beautiful epiphany novella, see The Story of the Other Wise Man by Henry van Dyke. Available from your favorite bookseller and here from Project Gutenberg: https://www.gutenberg.org/files/10679/10679-h/10679-h.htm.
Bio: James Jarrett lives with his partner Katie in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. They have six children. A licensed attorney and former church planter, James is endorsed by The Humanist Society as a Chaplain and Celebrant supporting people full-time in Hospice care. He posts poetry, articles, and random thoughts on his blog Becoming Human. (https://becominghuman122.wordpress.com/)