Sunday Morning ~ Epiphany Sunday
January 6, 2019
Epiphany. Revelation. Twelfth night. I love the way that sounds. Shakespearean. Another holiday, a celebration, a remembrance of three kings arriving across a desert to honor a hopeful future and promise of redemption. I think of the story in a literal sense and acknowledge this probably did not happen exactly as the story is told, but I love the symbolism. I love the idea that a star guided people of means on an honorable mission. They brought gold as the symbol of majesty, frankincense for spirituality, and myrrh as it was used in embalming the dead–– probably a useful gift at the time.
Epiphany Sunday for me is the day to take down the tree and put away most of the decorations. I scrolled around the internet to see what special customs were common around the world for this day and I came across one I rather like. In Ireland, Epiphany Sunday is known as “Women’s Christmas” where women get the day off and men do all the housework and cooking. They might gather together in a pub and have a meal with friends and drink wine. (Ok, for lots of us that’s like…Thursday, but I like it being official.) I’m not sure how old this tradition is or how it started, but it seems very fitting this week.
Women’s Christmas strikes a chord as this week feels so much like the best Christmas ever. Our first woman governor was sworn into office at a ceremony that took my breath away. I sat at my kitchen table, painting my Christmas cards, focused on chickadees and pine boughs, listening to the event on the radio. As the announcers were describing the scene I started trembling and had to see it. I ran for my phone and figured out how to watch it live (such a modern miracle!). I liked listening to the radio description, so muted the video and listened to them describe what I was watching. (I thought of my father who used to do this with the Celtics games because he hated the TV announcers.) My heart was racing with, what can only be described as, joy. Alone in my kitchen, I actually stood up and cheered. I squelched the feelings of envy I had for those who’d been invited to the event, but felt a wonderful bond with those who were posting about watching at home and expressing the same emotions I felt. This is Maine! A fairly homogenous state, and the celebration seemed as diverse and inclusive as possible! I was overwhelmed with pride and excitement. My state! Hooray! It gives me such pleasure to be proud of my state again. Eight years of apologizing for our governor is behind us! Hope for the future! This light seems even brighter because the eight-year tunnel we’ve been living in was so dark. Please God let this be a sign of the future for the country. Two young immigrant girls sang to the absolute heavens “This Girl is on Fire”. It just doesn’t get better than that.
My women’s writing group met here yesterday. I feel like the house is being rechristened with their energy. It felt wonderful, like a Women’s Christmas. The living room was a bit crowded, especially with the tree still up, but I wanted to leave it, the hot colorful bulbs warm up the room and make it feel even cozier. Dear George made sure all the firewood was split before he left so I have ample atmosphere and as we sat, and wrote, and read aloud, I reflected on the bond I have with these women. We’ve gotten to know each other mostly through our writing and reading. Some of it raw and painful, much of it funny, lots of it full of simple detail that comes out as poetry when read aloud. One of the group had been invited to the governor’s inaugural celebration the previous night. I was green with envy, hanging on her every word. She wrote of the event and the feeling of being part of such a joyful celebration. She described the outfits, the music, the smile on Janet Mill’s face, the dancing, the camaraderie. I feel like we’re entering the age of reason and we all have a chance to be a part of it. It feels like a lingering sickness is starting to resolve: the cough is diminishing, the breaths are a little easier to take, and the fever is gone. It’s like when you know you’re still sick, but have turned the corner and can see now you really are going to get better. You couldn’t see it before, but as you improve each day you get more and more sure you’ll be right as rain again. Patience. Good food, plenty of fluids, moderate exercise, and soon you’ll be running again. That’s what this feels like.
So, Happy Women’s Christmas, everyone! The Irish really have so many good ideas!
Love to all,