The packages have been opened, surprised
expressions savored and too much food consumed. We share farewell
embraces and are on our way.
The drive home from Christmas with family becomes a time of summing up the gifts of being together again. We note how much older everyone else looks. We share what we've learned in our separate conversations. We fall silent remembering beloved faces no longer at the family table. And tears startle us, as we realize we love the faces still there more than we suspected.
The soul grows quiet as the journey home invites consideration of more ancient travelers, the Magi. They came from the East, the Bible says, seeking a king because they saw his star (Matthew 2:1-12).
But what did they leave home to find? In his magnificent poem For The Time Being: A Christmas Oratorio, W.H. Auden imagines the three wise men reflecting on that question: "To discover how to be truthful now ... to be living now ... to be loving now," each answers in turn. The three finally sum up their quest: "To discover how to be human now is the reason we follow this star."
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