Someone once told me that it was bad luck to take down your Christmas decorations before Epiphany (January 6th). This thought seems to add credence to the argument raised by agnostics and atheists that religion is organized superstition. I believe that God is and that God is Love, and I won’t be swayed by this argument, but I won’t risk bad luck either (remember the exploding candleholders that marked my success in burning my bayberry candles to the socket so as to bring luck to my home and money to my pocket). I have come to my own Epiphany/luck arrangement. I take down all of my Christmas decorations on January 2nd, EXCEPT my Nativity set which I don’t take down until January 7th. It requires some box juggling. So far I haven’t experienced any kind of recognizable luck, but I remain hopeful.
My grandmother, who was raised by a Methodist minister in the days of a true itinerate ministry (every year the minister would travel to “Conference” and be told of his next year’s assignment – if lucky – hah, “lucky” – he would be assigned to his previous year’s church, if not, he and his family would be required pack up and to be at the new church the next Sunday) was the most superstitious (and faith-filled, in a profoundly open-mined way) person I have known. She would share her many superstition-motivated practices with us, her three grandchildren. These included, never change out the calendar until the first day of the new month. One of our favorites was stamping white horses. This was an activity my grandmother and her many siblings took part in while driving in their Model T to their new church assignment. When one saw a white horse, he or she would point at it, lick the tip of the pointing finger, and press it into the palm of the opposite hand and then ball-up into a fist the pointing hand and smack the newly-slimed palm. After “stamping” three white horses you got a wish. They probably wished that all went well at the new church. There were many other superstition-based practices, but those are the two that come to mind. I still stamp white horses, but since I see them so infrequently my count is lost, so I make a wish with every stamp, just in case it’s a third stamp.
I wish, even without a white horse, that this would bring me back to Epiphany, but it doesn’t, at least it doesn’t with any kind of grace or even reason, but I named this post “Epiphany,” so I’m coming back to it anyway. Epiphany this year was last Wednesday. It was the day that the Electoral College vote was being confirmed in Congress. Politically, it was not a pretty day. I wish, again without the benefit of white horses, that epiphanies would have been as widespread that day as was bad behavior, although I do believe they occurred. I will not pass judgement on President DJT, but I will admit to foregoing the invocation of luck right to the hope of prayer in praying that he experience an epiphany where truth was truth and self-service was apparent and public service DID extend to all members of the community that is the United States of America – the one he swore to serve. I really struggled to type “United” because while government struggles to be transparent, the “United” part of our Country is becoming almost invisible. This makes me sad. This makes me want to drive around until I’ve seen fifteen white horses, because it’s going to take more than one wish to make things better. Oh yeah, back to prayer. So, I’ve been praying for an epiphany for President DJT. In my mind, it looks a little like the one Ebenezer Scrooge experienced in “A Christmas Carol.” There would be ghosts of America Past, America Present, and America Yet-to-Come. I really want things to be better, kinder. You know with more charity of thought and action (this reminds me of 1 Corinthians 13:2 – “And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.”) At this point, I’m thinking it might take some pretty powerful ghosts to make this happen. But I have faith, and hope, and even though it isn’t easy right now, charity as I struggle not to judge.
I have a plastic pink flamingo (thank you friend Shari) who I dress for the season and holidays. I imagine his relief when I take off the turkey outfit after Thanksgiving and the Santa suit after Christmas. I imagine him preferring the dignity of his New Year’s Eve party outfit. I have a pretty active imagination. I imagine a UNITED States of America where life is good for everybody.