Hope Sings, So Beautiful: Epiphany

Every year I am caught by surprise when I see the morning star around this time of the year and remember we are in the time of Epiphany. God from God, Light from Light, begotten not made. I am overtaken by a sudden joy from I know not where.

That brilliant star low on the horizon with a moon hanging somewhere near reminds me of the Magi taking the long journey to pay homage to the Christ child with gifts of gold  for his Royal nature, frankincense for the  ineffable fragrance of the Presence of God, and myrrh for his sacrificial death, making us conscious of  eternal life. It is my favourite solemnity.

I feel a special affinity with the wise men of the East who pay attention to the Mystery with such devotion. The Mystery that has been revealed to us in Christ.

Coming into present time, to compound feeling poorly I had to take the car for a long run to charge the battery. Owing to my ailing state I had left the lights on overnight. Near where I live there is a 4-way stop where men by the side of the road wait in hope to be picked up for day-labour. Some get work, most do not. Not many will have a meal at all that day, let alone their families.

On my way home most had long since given up, but standing there was a slight young man with a small child hoping for a lift. I pulled over. He hesitated, unsure it was he for whom I had stopped, although no one else was around. I asked the little boy his name. He didn’t understand. “What language does he speak” I asked: ‘English, Afrikaans, Xhosa?” “ Xhosa” said his father.

Icon of St. Joseph

The child looked well cared for and serene. The father worked in a local restaurant, “in the kitchen”, he said. “And the child?” I asked, “What happens to him during the day?” “He plays at the back. I go to see that he’s OK.” “Are there other kids there?” I asked. “Sometimes”.

He’d been at the restaurant for five years. I could only imagine what a pittance he earned. He was a gentle soul. Reliable. I felt a painful gratitude for this young and humble man who was taking care of his kid. In the abyss of social misery and masculine brutality we don’t hear stories like this in South Africa.  It was a graced encounter across the colour line……

Hope sings, so beautiful.


Star of wonder, star of night,
Star of royal beauty bright,
Westward leading, still proceeding 
Guide us to the perfect light.

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