January 2, 2021
From Cynthia Aldinger, Founder of LifeWays:
Oh my goodness, I feel so full, perhaps overripe, with thoughts and feelings about this post I am offering today. It is meant to be about the Festival of Three Kings celebrated on January 6, which is also the day of Epiphany. My fullness arises from staring at the Nativity scene in my living room, where the innocent babe, having already been visited by shepherds, will soon be surrounded by three wise beings who have come to honor him with their gifts. My hearts swells with the thought of how remarkable, perhaps miraculous, it would be if those individuals in our current culture who are considered to be the wise ones and those individuals who are considered to be the working class (represented by the shepherds) could have a shared understanding of what it means for wisdom to bow to love.
The following quotes from two individuals I often read, really struck me as revelatory when it comes to trying to understand foundations of wisdom:
“Peace, concord and harmony will prevail among human beings to the extent that they find truth. That is the essential thing: that we should seek for truth as something to be found only in our own deepest being; and should know that truth ever and again draws human beings together, because from the innermost depth of every human soul its light shines forth.
So is truth the leader of humankind towards unity and mutual understanding, and also the precursor of justice and love.
That is the mission of truth: to become the object of increasing love and care and devotion on our part.”
Adapted from Rudolf Steiner, Metamorphoses of the Soul / Paths of Experience – Volume One: Lecture 3: The Mission of Truth
“We all want to love, but as a rule we don’t know how to love rightly. How should we love so that life will really come from it? I believe that what we all need is wisdom. Often the only thing we’ve taught people is to think that they’re right—or that they’re wrong. We’ve either mandated things or forbidden them. But we haven’t helped people to enter upon the narrow and dangerous path of true wisdom. On wisdom’s path we take the risk of making mistakes. On this path we take the risk of being wrong. That’s how wisdom is gained.”
Adapted from Richard Rohr, Simplicity: The Freedom of Letting Go
Love is mentioned in both of these quotes, and the gesture I have always appreciated in celebrating Three Kings Day is that of wisdom bowing to love. This is a gesture that, regardless of our individual faith or religious practices, we can ponder together. Let us devote ourselves to the effort of making our decisions and our sharing with one another based on this gesture. Wisdom irradiated with Love responds with openness to our fellow travelers.
Finally, let’s give brief consideration to the three gifts that were bestowed in this mysterious story. I’ve read a variety of ideals of what they stand for, from the profoundly esoteric to simple descriptions of the substances. One I read recently resonated with the message I am hoping to convey in this blogpost: gold representing the offering love in our hearts; frankincense representing the offering of truth in our minds; and myrrh representing the offering of service of our hands.
With this verse from the last panel of The Foundation Stone meditation offered at a Christmas Conference in 1924 for the re-founding of the Anthroposophical Society, I wish you all Light and Love,
At the turning point of time
The Spirit-Light of the World
Entered the stream of Earthly Being.
Darkness of night
Had held its sway.
Day radiant light
Poured into the souls of humankind;
Light that gave warmth
To simple shepherds’ hearts,
Light that enlightened
The wise heads of kings.
O Light Divine!
O Sun of Christ!
Warm thou our hearts,
Enlighten thou our heads,
That good may become
What from our hearts we would found
And from our heads direct
With single purpose.