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Epiphany

This is the day on which we celebrate the feast of the Epiphany - the arrival of "three wise men from the east" at the place where Mary, Joseph, and Jesus were staying - a converted "barn" because Bethlehem was overrun by people trying to get their tax registration done, and the penalty for failing to do this was more severe than a simple fine.


This is the day, two years ago, when Penny was admitted to the hospital, acutely anemic and dehydrated, because the endometrial cancer which had stealthily returned in all the far-scattered endometrial tissue elsewhere in her abdomen, the cancer killed in 2002 had come back because the cause of it was a cascade of things that we didn't know and couldn't change. The cancer, being useless and self-destructive, had ruptured into her stomach and it would bleed fitfully every few days, and this went on for far too long, and we never understood it.

The rupture had to have happened after her liver biopsy, which was done on December 24th.

She was too weak to stand, we had a stupid, horrible time trying to get her an ambulance to take her to the hospital, on a Friday afternoon.

This was when we decided, damn the expense, she needed to be seen by doctors in the hospital and they had to actually pay attention. This was when we clung hard to the desperate hope that it was not too late, that she would have more than a scant few more months.

And two years ago on January 12th, she died from the cancer, quietly and in her sleep, and I wasn't with her because I had gone to an interview and then shopping for things she needed.
Which is where she wanted me to be, and besides, we did have that last conversation in greater depth, outside time.

I wonder if Mary or Joseph knew that Jesus would be killed, tortured to death.
Did the Magi warn them?

The Magi were Zoroastrian high priests. They were not Hebrews. They were, in fact, the followers of the faith which gave birth to the primary competition for the hearts and minds of the Roman Empire ... Mithrainism. An offshoot of the Zoroastrian faith, Mithras was, their scriptures said, the son of Ahura Mazda, the good God whose presence is the Sun itself; Mithras either sprung full-grown from a rock or was born of a virgin and after a somewhat different life than that of Jesus (Mithras was a powerful prince) he was killed by being hung on a tree, i.e. crucified, as a sacrifice to save his people. As a god incarnate but not really a man, he didn't stay dead. (When this idea is pushed by some Christians who don't quite understand the concept of trinity, we identify it as the heresy of Docetism, as opposed to the version that says Jesus was purely human and adopted by God, which is Arianism.)

What did they do with the expensive gifts? The frankincense and myrrh that would be given to kings at their birth as a reminder that they would someday die, and the gifts of gold... Perhaps they paid for the trip to Egypt where they would be out of reach of Herod.


Tonight as I was getting ready for sleep I came across this news item.

Andrew Olmstead Killed in Iraq

Major Olmstead was a blogger, and a science fiction fan, and a man who changed and learned a lot. He was fiercely protective of his right to NOT be used as a chess-piece nor as a pawn by any political party; he simply told the truth. If you can, spare a thought or a prayer for his family left behind.