(Here’s a throwback from 3 years ago.) The season of Epiphany unfolds on us – maybe even in us – every year. It is not lost on me that it follows immediately after the paradoxical stress (including the inability to endure, much less champion, the Christmas spirit for more than a few minutes at a time) and release (“Send ’em all home before we all fall apart!”) of Christmas. The manger is continually shadowed by the cross.
Photo by Owen Jenkins
Was Jesus born on hospice care, propelled toward his earthly demise from the moment Mary and Joseph unwrapped the magi's myrrh? Is that what incarnation – being in-the-flesh – is all about; preparing for death by learning how to live, and preparing for life by learning how to die? When my mother was on her death bed, with less than 24 hours left, brain tumor ravishing her body, we arrived home to find her asleep. She woke up and asked, in childlike innocence, “What have you been doing?” Answering from a place deeper than my 26 year-old self knew existed, I replied, “We’ve been playing at work.” Ever since that day, both haunted and propelled by the mystery of that exchange, I’ve caught glimpses of the hospice care with which my life's surrounded: love, support, and nurture that strengthen and encourage me to breathe deeply of each moment, savor people, treasure the journey, and give grace free flow to rush in and out of my broken places, washing fear and anxiety away. These are the gifts of the one who was calm and secure in both his going out and his coming in, inhaling death and exhaling life. © 2014 Todd Jenkins