Epiphany: Blessing of the Magi

By Another RoadImage: By Another Road © Jan Richardson

Reading from the Gospels, Epiphany, Years ABC: Matthew 2.1-12

And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod,
they left for their own country by another road.
—Matthew 2.12

Blessing of the Magi

There is no reversing
this road.
The path that bore you here
goes in one direction only,
every step drawing you
down a way
by which you will not

You thought arrival
was everything,
that your entire journey
ended with kneeling
in the place
you had spent all
to find.

When you laid down
your gift,
release came with such ease,
your treasure tumbling
from your hands
in awe and

Now the knowledge
of your leaving
comes like a stone laid
over your heart,
the familiar path closed
and not even the solace
of a star
to guide your way.

You will set out in fear.
You will set out in dream.

But you will set out

by that other road
that lies in shadow
and in dark.

We cannot show you
the route that will
take you home;
that way is yours
and will be found
in the walking.

But we tell you,
you will wonder
at how the light you thought
you had left behind
goes with you,
spilling from
your empty hands,
shimmering beneath
your homeward feet,
illuminating the road
with every step
you take.

—Jan Richardson

[2016 update: This blessing appears in Jan’s new book, Circle of Grace: A Book of Blessings for the Seasons.]

P.S. I have a few more Epiphany treats for you!

First: At my Sanctuary of Women site, you can find a brand-new retreat that I’ve designed for Women’s Christmas, which some folks celebrate on Epiphany. To learn more about Women’s Christmas and download the retreat (at no cost), click the image or link below.

Women’s Christmas: The Map You Make Yourself

Then: For previous reflections for Epiphany, including “Blessing for Those Who Have Far to Travel,” click this image or title:

Epiphany: Blessing for Those Who Have Far to Travel

And for the final treat: The special Advent discount on annual subscriptions to Jan Richardson Images (the website that makes my work available for use in worship) will be available through Epiphany Day (January 6). For info, visit:

Jan Richardson Images

[To use the image “By Another Road,” please visit this page at janrichardsonimages.com. Your use of janrichardsonimages.com helps make the ministry of The Painted Prayerbook possible. Thank you!]

14 Responses to “Epiphany: Blessing of the Magi”

  1. Betty Thompson Says:

    This holds worlds of wisdom and hope. Thank you!

  2. Maureen Says:


    Wishing you the joy and blessings of the coming New Year.

  3. linda Says:

    You have helped me set my intention for 2013, Jan. I will set out. And I believe the light I have found will go with me.

    May 2013 hold the same in your heart!

  4. Carolyn Says:

    ‘You will set out in fear
    You will set out in dream

    But you will set out…….’

    And so I have set out, reminding myself already on this first January day that the word I’ll travel with this year is ‘fearlessly’ [acompanied by ‘live’ and ‘leap’]
    And already a treasure along the year, gathering a new blessing.

    Grateful, I am!

  5. Lauri Watkins Says:

    Looking for inspiration for my Epiphany homily. Thank you for being such a wonderful vessel, for your words of the Magi poured out and refreshed my soul. I’m delighted that God led me to your spot, and I’m looking forward to using your posts for inspiration in the future.

  6. Aldrich Diana Says:

    Jan, thank you for the Blessing of the Magi. I had already planned to have Magi from around the world on display during worship on Sunday. I would love to have your poem placed with them. Please let me know what you would like in repayment for any copies I make to hand out?

    • Jan Richardson Says:

      Thanks so much, Diana! For this kind of use, there’s no need to pay, but thanks very kindly for your offer. If you’ll simply indicate that the blessing is © Jan Richardson and provide a link to The Painted Prayerbook, that would be lovely. Splendid idea of having Magi from around the world on display. Blessings to you and yours this Epiphany and beyond!

      • Aldrich Diana Says:

        Much thanks for your generous offer to allow me to share Blessing of the Magi. I met you at companions on the inner way a few years ago.

  7. clifford Says:

    Thank You. Very beautiful!

  8. Jen Shepherd Says:

    Your stay in our cottage in Mississippi after leading the women’s retreat with FUMC-Tupelo remains a treasured memory. In the ensuing years, Mark and I’ve become Spiritual Directors and continue to glean from your contemplative ministry. I intend to use this poem with my directees as they journey into 2013. Thank you for your faithfulness!

  9. Bickley Wilson Says:

    Jan, the poem is beautiful! I love it. I will not be able to come tomorrow nite but want to set aside the Thursdays so I can begin to come again. Hopw you and Gary had a full and peaceful Holiday. Happy New year! See you soon, I hope…Bickley

  10. Donna Barr Says:

    Dear Jan,
    I am attending The Haden Spiritual Direction Study Course and began noticing you…..now everyday. Thank you for sharing your ideas, thoughts, prayers, poems and paintings. I now am sharing you with the group I began in my home last year. I will be reading The Blessing of The Magi this Monday night at our group. And I will be thanking God for your presence in my life. The internet really is good!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *