Christianity · God · My Thoughts · Politics

Epiphany 2021: Light & Darkness Collide

Epiphany: Light and Dark Collide
Light and Darkness Collide

On Epiphany 2021, January 6th became a day in USA history. Light and darkness collided with not many even aware of that fact. Most years this ecclesiastical day goes unnoticed except for those who celebrate it. I will never forget this year.

So, what is Epiphany to me, as an Episcopalian? “. . . the church celebrates the Feast of the Epiphany, which marks the end of the 12 days of Christmas each year on January 6. Epiphany is a Greek word meaning “manifestation” or “appearing.” At the Feast of the Epiphany we celebrate Jesus being made manifest or appearing as Christ.”

https://episcopalchurch.org/files/bi010613half.pdf

The Episcopal church says: Epiphany is “. . . the manifestation of Christ to the peoples of the earth. The day was called “The Feast of Lights.”

https://episcopalchurch.org/library/glossary/epiphany

Epiphany: The three wise men

“On the Feast of the Epiphany, the Wise Men, or Magi, arrive bearing gifts and present the Christ child with gold (recognizing him as king), frankincense (recognizing him as a priest) and myrrh (an anointing oil for burial).”

https://www.newsday.com/long-island/asking-clergy-what-does-the-epiphany-celebrate-1.25264739

Normally, I have mixed feelings with the arrival of Epiphany because it marks the end of Christmas, and I love the Christmas season and everything about it. I do love Epiphany, though, because of its focus: Jesus, the light of the world. I wait to take down my Christmas decorations until then. In its own way, Epiphany is a celebratory time.

This year, I dreaded this day for weeks ahead of time because I knew it coincided with the certification of the results of the election by Congress, and I knew protesters planned an event in Washington.

When the day came, initially I forgot it was January 6. I did my normal routine: my Quiet Time reading and writing in the morning, rousing Cribbage games with Lin, my husband, during breakfast and normal stuff. At 11:00 am, I had a Zoom meeting with my marketing agent and ten other authors.

After finishing that peaceful, supportive meeting, I headed downstairs. Lin came in the door, returning from a trip to Walmart. He had listened to a news station on Sirius, and said, “Turn on the TV. They’re storming the Capitol.”

I did; we ate lunch trying to digest the horrific activity before our eyes. Our Capitol had been breached by the protesters, no terrorists. I sat glued to the TV for the rest of the afternoon and early evening. Image after image exploded on the screen of these lawless invaders looting the Capitol. Darkness raised its ugly head.

As I watched, I cried! I posted my despair on Facebook and received massive support and one dissenter. What a dark day in our history! I realized that day stood as a turning point in my life for acceptance of the lies perpetuated over the last two months about the election and the results. It had been brewing for four years, so I set boundaries on Facebook with supporters of this sedition.

As the afternoon dimmed into night, I remembered Fr. Dan Tuton, the priest at my Episcopal church, had scheduled a Zoom Epiphany Service and I planned to attend. Should I? What new development would I miss? My hours’ long vigil had worn me out. I needed to refocus on God and love and light.

Earlier in the afternoon, I had shared with Lin I planned to attend this service, and he joined me. I want to thank Fr. Dan Tuton and Hope in the Desert Episcopal Church for a peaceful reflective Epiphany service in the midst of such a turbulent day. He read Matthew 2:1-12, recounting the Magi’s visit to the Messiah. Then he read Henry Van Dyke’s, The Story of the Other Wise Man.

How I did need that time bathed in the glory of Epiphany. God works in mysterious ways for sure. Right before we took an intermission at the mid-point in Van Dyke’s story, a dear friend messaged me with a personal prayer request, so I shared it with the group, and we prayed right then. I knew they would because my church is a healing community. Whew! My God in the middle of chaos!

The images from that infamous day whirl around in my mind still. Because I’m a historian and record keeper, I downloaded several images of the looters, the terrorists, the destruction, thinking I would use them in this blog, but no! I do not want to give them any more notoriety. Instead I want to provide a respite from the chaos.

Let’s focus on the light, the Christ Child who lights up my life. Fr. Dan helped me refocus that sad day to a commemoration of three wise men (or more or less. No one knows for sure) who traveled a long distance to confirm the birth of the Messiah as described in Matthew who witnessed the beginning of His life.

Then in Van Dyke’s story, The Story of the Other Wise Man, he revealed another possible wise man, Artaban, who touched my heart with his willingness to give his gifts intended for the Messiah to those in need. In doing that, he missed the Magi’s finding of the Christ Child but had a serendipitous meeting with Jesus later.

So, this sad day ended on a positive note, with a celebration of the Magi honoring the Christ child and the giving spirit of Artaban. I felt God’s light and love emanating from this Scripture, this tale and this service.

How can we refocus now? How can we identify the goodness of our country and its people? I would be interested in your thoughts!

Epiphany: Happy 2021 & Larada

~Visit my blog post from last week:

Just Another Square Dance Caller

~HAVE YOU ORDERED A PERSONALLY AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF THE FLIPPO BIOGRAPHY?   AVAILABLE NOW! Go to the homepage on my website & pay for it there: https://www.laradasbooks.com

~Here’s Christmas greetings from Flippo & Neeca, featuring his song, “When Its Christmas Time in Texas”: https://youtu.be/mpJCUGffU3A

ALL FOUR E-BOOK FORMATS OF FLIPPO’S BIOGRAPHY AVAILABLE NOW:

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~ BEGINNING OF THE YEAR SALE: Visit my Etsy Shop for 25% off individual paperback titles & bundles. Good until JANUARY 15, 2021. https://www.etsy.com/shop/LaradasReadingLoft

~VISIT A FRIEND’S BLOG: Cooking in a One-Butt Kitchen | Eating Well in Small Spaces: https://cookinginaonebuttkitchen.com/

My Thoughts · Politics

I’m Stupid, I’m Satanic Because of Our Political Disagreements!

Two specific political memes on Facebook this week caught my eye and rumbled around in my head all week, demanding I address what this meant to me. One implied half of the country and I are too stupid because we disagree with one party’s assertions. I don’t agree with you; therefore, I’m stupid! The second claimed that it’s their candidate versus Satan which would include me because I support that person. I am a Christian and appalled at that supposition. Does the person posting this type of political memes ever think by saying, “(Fill the party name) is stupid or satanic,” they might be talking about his/her hairdresser, cousin, or best friend?

The logic behind these vicious memes escapes me, and I’m offended by these statements.  I don’t comment on Facebook with everything I disagree with because I don’t feel it’s my place to argue with someone’s post. Maybe that person doesn’t realize how divisive and ugly this kind of political campaigning is, so I decided to give them the benefit of the doubt, talk about my feelings about this issue and offer a possible solution!

Recently, the month or so before an election, many people choose to stop participating on Facebook because of this sort of rhetoric! She innocently posts something political and positive then gets attacked by the other side, with dear friends throwing insults and verbiage she can’t imagine. So, the solution is to walk away and take a break, hoping all is healed after the election. I understand that tactic; however, I propose a positive alternative.              

Disagree agreeablly

I love this quote from Bob Ehrlich, “Thoughtful people of different political philosophies can disagree, but in a very agreeable manner.”

Here’s more information about Bob:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bob_Ehrlich

So, can we disagree in an agreeable manner? That’s the question. Yes, I understand this election seems larger than life with both sides saying it’s the election of a lifetime, but can we dial back the accusatory posts?

People have noted that the current division in our country has torn families apart in a way like no other election. Personally, I abhor arguing politics because my Dad and I often screamed nose-to-nose, red-faced and veins popping, clearing a room anytime the topic came up. Neither of us won! Neither of us changed the other’s mind—wasted energy and wounded spirits!

The last big fight we had we were driving down in our canyon after the election, a beautiful fall morning. His candidate didn’t win. Up until this point, we enjoyed a light jovial conversation, then Dad stopped the pick-up in the middle of the road, glared at me and repeated this question, “Are you one of them?” (A member of the opposite party).

When I replied, “No, I really don’t like either party. I’m an independent,” that wasn’t a satisfactory answer. Then he wagged his finger in my face as if I were a little girl and hurled, “Did you vote for him?” (The opposite candidate)

I pulled myself up in my seat to my full height of five foot three inches and declared, “Yes, I did!” He lost it then with every insult he could think of! Did he really think that behavior would change my mind? After that I avoided any political battles with him. Often, he tried to lure me in, but I refused!

So, why did I tell you that? Today I do believe that we can “agree to disagree” in a respectful manner. I have witnessed intelligent conversations where opposing beliefs were shared, listened to and honored, and everyone walked away the better off for having participated. I believe in the two-party system of our country. We need both parties and their ideals to balance each other. Neither are Satanic or stupid. I believe in energetic and passionate involvement, but I also believe we have to be kind and loving, more than anything. On November 4, 2020, I want to retain friendships with those who disagree with my politics. I want no relationship fatalities!

Let's agree to disagree!

            So, I present my Facebook challenge, starting today over the next thirty days—a halt to the ugly propaganda-style posts hurling insults at the “other” candidate. I encourage thoughtfulness instead. How about a post about the positive characteristics of your candidate? Celebrate your nominee with his attributes, his successful track record and his accomplishments.

            I know that some of you are shaking your heads at me and saying, “This is pie-in-the-sky, Polly Anna mentality.” That’s okay.

            To support your pessimistic stance, before an election several years ago, a friend of mine tried to have a positive forum on her Facebook page asking people to only share positive traits of their candidate, no bashing of the opponent. It lasted a short time before someone got on his/her soapbox lambasting the other opponent. Okay, I get it—that’s the easy way out!

            But what I offer here might be difficult and unusual in these times, but I believe doable! It’s called a challenge because of its difficulty! I dare you to dig deep and think of me when you’re posting something questionable.

A Challenge

            So, will you take the challenge? I commend you if you do. Maybe we can make the Facebook world a kinder, gentler world over these coming weeks and be proud of our effort.


Book cover of Just Another Square Dance Caller

~HAVE YOU ORDERED A PERSONALLY AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF THE FLIPPO BIOGRAPHY?   AVAILABLE NOW! Go to the homepage on my website and pay for it there: https://www.laradasbooks.com

ALL FOUR E-BOOK FORMATS OF FLIPPO’S BIOGRAPHY AVAILABLE NOW:

~Visit my web site for all the information you need about me and my books:  https://www.laradasbooks.com

~On Wednesday, August 12, 2020 I wrote my 200th blog post. Be sure and check it out here: 200th blog post