In my life I have learnt that your life is as fleeting as grass seeds in the wind... here today, gone in a second. Nothing is forever and that which is, is not visible.
Still I like to stand still for a moment and reflect on those things that make this journey a bit more pleasant and worth while....
Don’t let your encounter with God leave you untouched!
Since it is Christmas time, I'd like to
share with you one of my favourite poems and discuss the meaning of it. I hope
you enjoy it as much as I did, and find a little bit of the hope of the Christmas miracle inside
this poem. Don’t let your encounter with God leave you untouched!
"Journey of The
Magi"by T. S. Eliot
'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, sore-footed,
Lying down in the melting snow.
There were times we regretted
The summer palaces on slopes, the terraces, 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
With a running stream and a water-mill beating the
And three trees on the low sky,
And an old white horse galloped away in the
Then we came to a tavern with vine-leaves over the
…..And arrived at evening, not a moment too
Finding the place; it was (you may say)
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
But had thought they were different; this Birth
Hard and bitter agony for us, like Death, our
We returned to our places, these Kingdoms,
But no longer at ease here, in the old
With an alien people clutching their gods.
I should be glad of another death.
I would like to dwell on some aspects of this
beautiful poem. It describes the journey of the "Wise men from the
East" towards Christ and thus, symbolically, towards Christianity. Many
critics parallel the Magi's journey with Eliot's own journey in search of
"satisfaction" in Christianity. "Journey of the Magi" focuses on the affirmation of Christ that comes
from the Magi's journey towards faith through birth, death, and rebirth, a
journey that parallels Eliot's own struggles with his faith, not uncommon from my own.
The dawn they speak of, is the nativity and all the ideas of the dawning of a new era, the empty tomb of Easter, as well
the image of the Second Coming and the return of Christ from the East. The Magi's dawn arrival is symbolic of the new life attained from their penance.
The "three trees against a low sky" is a
reference to the crosses of Calvary (the Crucifixion). It also implies the
spiritual truth of the future (the skies lowered and heaven opened.)
The old horse is symbolic of the death of paganism
under the onslaught of Christianity and the old dispensation that will fade
away with Christ's birth.
The birth of the new era involves the destruction
of the old. The Birth the Magus saw, began the death of his old world, old
life, but did not, with the same certainty, give him anything new. The Magus is
therefore alienated from everything 'in the old dispensation'. The Magi are
caught in the middle between birth and death, moving towards the center of the
Christian mystery, where death is the way to birth through Christ. Elliot, just
like the old Magus, knows the difficult road one must travel in a spiritual
pursuit of faith against those who scorn along the way. This leads to
alienation and a feeling of powerlessness in a world that has changed.
The journey becomes not only a physical movement
towards Christ, but also the first step in the Magi's spiritual progress as
they truly regret their previous spiritual stasis. This spiritual journey takes
us in search of perfection, but in order to obtain perfection on a higher
level, Christ's death is the only way that satisfaction can occur.
This narrator is someone who is world weary,
reflective, and sad. He asks, ". . . were we led all that way for Birth or
Death?" The birth of the Christ was the death of the world of magic,
astrology, and paganism. The speaker, recalling his journey in old age, says
that after that birth his world had died, and he had little left to do but wait
for his own end. A witness to historical change who seeks to rise above his
historical moment, a man who, despite material wealth and prestige, has lost
his spiritual bearings.
Even though he could never be the same after witnessing
Jesus’ birth, he could never embrace this encounter and accept Jesus,
completing the birth/death process in his own life. Because he could not break
a hundred percent with his old life, he could not move forward with his new life. This
caused him to feel dead, in fact, he wishes to die. His old beliefs were just
too much for him to give up, but not enough to take this feeling away. He died
sad and unsatisfied. Conclusion:
DO NOT let an encounter
with Jesus leave you untouched. If you have the opportunity, embrace it completely,
so that you can have that satisfaction and fulfillment. If you hesitate or decline, you might not get another chance, and you will forever wander in this abyss between search and satisfaction. One person who embraced it, and
gave up everything he believed in after his Godly encounter, was Paul. Do you
remember the remarkable things he did afterwards? There are books devoted to
his life. What a legacy! This way, you can die in peace, knowing you have
fulfilled your purpose. You may never get that opportunity again.... (some notes taken from Nancy Hargrove, R. D. Brown
E. F. & Burgess, Brian Barbour)