"Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD has risen upon you. For darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the peoples; but the LORD will arise upon you, and his glory will appear over you. Nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn. Lift up your eyes and look around; they all gather together, they come to you; your sons shall come from far away, and your daughters shall be carried on their nurses' arms. Then you shall see and be radiant; your heart shall thrill and rejoice, because the abundance of the sea shall be brought to you, the wealth of the nations shall come to you." (Isaiah 60:1-5)
You'll notice that I didn't say three kings because who knows exactly who or how many there were. Magi could maybe have even been women. (Although the joke is that if they were women they certainly would have brought gifts that were more appropriate; like diapers, but that's a whole other joke.) They traveled far; did it really only take them two weeks to get from wherever they were from to the baby? Who it seems is no longer in a stable, but in a house. When did they move? It doesn't even say baby; it says child. Maybe it didn't take them a few weeks, but a few years? I don't know. It's a question for a Biblical scholar, of which I am NOT.
What I am is your semi-average woman; a mother, wife and daughter living in this still crazy time; even though I am hopeful that the world will somewhat return to an even keel this year. In my mind, today marks the end of the Christmas season and tomorrow my decorations will start to come down. Normally, I'd be encouraging everyone to take their decorations, particularly their lights, down. But this year, while I am going to take my decorations and lights down, there will be no shaming if you leave yours up. We NEED light. We NEED hope. We NEED promise of better things to come.
That is why I started this post with the lines (which are part of today's lectionary) from Isaiah. Furthermore, today I think we all (no matter what religion we do or do not follow) need to hear good news and be uplifted. We need to feel and ACT together so that we ALL can be part of the light that shines over this planet.
So if you take down your decorations/lights today, tomorrow, this weekend or never, know that the light that shines the brightest is the light that comes from within you.