The brightest constellation in the sky, seen almost everywhere on earth, Orion's Belt links the vast treasure-trove of human cultures throughout time.
In all messy varieties of human condition, for 200,000 years, in war and in peace, in times of blight and prosperity, you and I have gazed upon the same three belted stars as the Buddha, Confucius, Plato, Mohammad, Shakespeare, Newton, and yes, Taylor Swift.
Ah, but at this writing it's Christmas time. On clear nights I find myself looking skyward, compelled by the Christian fable of the Three Kings, and their gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh, presented to a newborn Christ. Each man and each gift represented by one of the belt's three stars. The symbolism of these gifts has suffered endless speculation and the writing of religious doctrine. And too the rise of a more pragmatic question -- were the gifts nothing more than the best currency of the time to fund an escape from a life in the manger?
But swirling among all of the interpretations are bits and pieces from which I have made my own:
- Precious, shiny gold in acknowledgment of the great divine (you are but one infinitesimal unit of a vast and mighty whole. #humility).
- The fragrant smoke of frankincense to envelope us in the power of prayer (be in conversation with God as you define, with other people when you can).
- The rich perfume of myrrh, a sensory reminder to embrace our mortal life (you have only but a minute, and you are meant to do something with it).
Indeed, as it should, that last one nudges me toward a fresh resolve in 2024. There is an overdue basement clean-up in this inner house of mine and "More in '24" is my new maxim.
But with 10 nights left remaining of decadence and its cake and punch, I send you off with a Merry Christmas wish. May we both look skyward on a clear night, and at the same moment see the light of Orion's Belt and together be awestruck by the extraordinary journey we share.
With love and gratitude for you, Kate