The Journey of the Magi and Me
Posted by djafan on Monday, December 24, 2012
I dream of places mostly. Waking or sleeping, journeys have always intrigued me. This fascination has impelled me to visit or reside in many parts of the United States as well as Canada, and to travel to over a dozen countries throughout Europe, Egypt, and Greece. Imagine my joy on discovering that one of the symptoms of ODD was an overwhelming urge to travel!
Life is made up of many kinds of journeys, not all physical. Right now, David is on a journey that he can not take us on. Except for a few glimpses into public performances, his life and work at this time are his to experience alone. More than merely a physical passage, it is a spiritual odyssey, a sacred pilgrimage. Such strivings will not always be easy. There will be times of loneliness and discouragement, but mostly, there will be great joy and a growth that can come, as he wisely stated, “in no other way.”
At this time of the rolling year when we celebrate the Savior’s birth, on a site devoted to one now called by Him to be a witness for Him to the world, I make no apologies in speaking of my own conversion. I speak only of my conversion to Christ, not my subsequent belief in and membership in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints. I make that distinction at the outset, as this is something not confined to only LDS but to Christians in general.
I was raised in a Protestant orphanage and attended church every Sunday. I was a very devout child, even by the standards of the day and in the bible belt. For reasons beyond my control, I was taken from that environment and left to fend for myself religiously, a task I failed supremely at, being only twelve at the time. What followed was a falling away and eventual rebellion at even the notion of God. I became a woman of the world, (see my first paragraph) and what’s more, without God in that world. If He was real, why did He let so many bad things happen? Why did He forsake me? In fact, it was I who forsook Him and at the age of thirty, long story short, it came to me in the light of a blazing epiphany that He was real. Jesus Christ was the actual Savior of the world, who lived and atoned for my sins and was still my BFF. Through all the years I had abandoned Him, He had never left my side or stopped loving me. Did I receive this revelation with unalloyed joy? I did not. For a brief moment, I was petrified, and then of course, my heart broke into a million pieces. My husband had left me, I was totally alone, and now came the realization that my whole world view, everything I had based my life on for so long was a lie. The point I am laboring to make is expressed so much more beautifully in the richly symbolic poem by T.S. Eliot, “Journey of the Magi.” What follows in video is a masterful performance of the poem. It is a tale of sorrow, that with the birth of Christ, everything the Magi had once held as truth: paganism, magic and astrology, is no more.
T. S. Eliot’s “Journey of the Magi” was first published in 1927, the same year that Eliot was received by baptism into the Anglican Church. Critics agree that Eliot’s “Journey of the Magi” is about his own personal and spiritual conversion experience.
‘A cold coming we had of it,
Just the worst time of the year
For a journey, and such a long journey:
The ways deep and the weather sharp,
The very dead of winter.’
And the camels galled, sorefooted, refractory,
Lying down in the melting snow.
There were times we regretted
The summer palaces on slopes, the terraces,
And the silken girls bringing sherbet.
Then the camel men cursing and grumbling
and running away, and wanting their liquor and women,
And the night-fires going out, and the lack of shelters,
And the cities hostile and the towns unfriendly
And the villages dirty and charging high prices:
A hard time we had of it.
At the end we preferred to travel all night,
Sleeping in snatches,
With the voices singing in our ears, saying
That this was all folly.
Then at dawn we came down to a temperate valley,
Wet, below the snow line, smelling of vegetation;
With a running stream and a water-mill beating the darkness,
And three trees on the low sky,
And an old white horse galloped away in the meadow.
Then we came to a tavern with vine-leaves over the lintel,
Six hands at an open door dicing for pieces of silver,
And feet kicking the empty wine-skins.
But there was no information, and so we continued
And arriving at evening, not a moment too soon
Finding the place; it was (you might say) satisfactory.
All this was a long time ago, I remember,
And I would do it again, but set down
This set down
This: were we led all that way for
Birth or Death? There was a Birth, certainly
We had evidence and no doubt. I had seen birth and death,
But had thought they were different; this Birth was
Hard and bitter agony for us, like Death, our death.
We returned to our places, these Kingdoms,
But no longer at ease here, in the old dispensation,
With an alien people clutching their gods.
I should be glad of another death.
May we remember Christ this Christmas and all the year through. Click on image below and God bless you!