Constellation: a group of stars making a recognizable pattern
All people throughout history have looked up into the night sky and seen the same thing ... stars. Constant, familiar flecks of colored light. These pinpoints of light have served humankind as a guide since the dawn of navigation. Ancient mariners used them to cross vast, hostile oceans. The first farmers determined the seasons by studying the stars. Even our modern calendar can be traced back to star patterns.
Stars are predictable. Fixed.
2,000 years ago a group of scholars—magi—from an Eastern kingdom, witnessed an anomaly: one star that was out of place. And it was moving.
As if moved by some unseen hand, drawn by some unexplainable instinct, they saddled up their riches and travelled west by starlight. This time, they followed only one star. This anomaly called The Star of Bethlehem. A star that led them to the manger of a King.
Our craving for comfort may cause us to settle for the familiar, comfortable patterns of life. But there's always something else at work in us, isn't there? Something harder to contain or explain. Something inside of us that reaches out, that whispers more.
Will we, like these magi, follow the anomalies that rise up within us? Those yearnings to break our patterns of complacency embark on new journeys?
I sat silently alone in what was one of the darkest times of my life. I couldn’t see which way to go or where to turn next. My soul was tired and I wanted to give up—I wanted the darkness to end. Recent news brought me crumbling down, pushing me into a deep dark cave with little space to move. I couldn't see anything around me, but I could feel the damp, jagged walls just inches from my body. The air was cool and I sat huddled in my tiny spot with no clear source of light to guide me out. Just as I was about to take my final breath, I looked up and saw a glimmer of light sparkling in the distance. It was warm and inviting, so I began to move forward. As one foot stepped in front of the other, the light began to grow brighter. I began to see the reflection of the light off the walls of the cave. The light began filling in all the areas around me as I walked closer. Fear, anxiety, depression and anger began to fall off my shoulders to the floor. I watched them sliver back into the darkness behind me. I kept moving forward, not looking back. I was now fully upright and completely surrounded by this light. I looked down and saw I was fully clothed in a shimmering white robe. As my eyes glanced back up at the light, I saw an image of a man, arms open, waiting patiently for my love to embrace.
This holiday season is a joyous, wonderful time of the year, but for some, this season may also be filled with a darkness. Many have a hard time seeing the joy and feel lost or alone. Maybe they just lost a loved one or are remembering ones they lost too soon, maybe they lost a job and cannot afford to give this year, or maybe their past is weighing them down so heavily they feel trapped. One symbol that comes to mind that encompasses this season is the Nativity scene. Everywhere you look, you see scribbled pictures colored by children, plastic sculptures lighting up front yards, wooden figurines sitting on mantels, and even real-life Nativity scenes. These are all beautiful and a wonderful reminder of why we celebrate the season, but we also only get a glimpse into the final scene of Act I. We see the Savior in the manger surrounded by ones who love and believe in Him. We see Mary and Joseph looking down at him smiling, we see the shepherds and wise men who had came from afar, we see the angels who gathered around, and we see a bright, shining star directly above everyone.
Recently, the Holy Spirit directed my attention toward the wise men. He quietly said, "What did it take for them to get to Jesus?" As I thought about this, I pictured them on a dirt path with only the shimmer of the stars lighting their way. Then, through darkness they see a bright shining star and they begin following it, hoping it will lead them to the King of Kings, the Savior. I think about the miles it took for them to get there—the darkness, the uncertainty they must have had, wondering if they would ever find the savior. Could they trust this light they were following? Did they think about giving up? They put their trust in the light and it gave them the hope they needed to keep moving. They continued to walk, one foot in front of another until they saw Him, a baby wrapped in cloth laying in a manger. Surrounded by His greatness and glory, they immediately fell down and worshiped the Savior.
The smallest glimmer of light in a dark place is the hope we need to light our path. Just as the wise men followed the light to Jesus, just as I followed the glimmer out of the cave, we must have the same kind of hope to keep moving forward. Keep putting one foot in front of the other and walking toward the light. The light will always guide us to our Savior, our Lord, and He will bring us out of the dark places.
- Matthew 2:1-12
- Psalms 119:105
- John 1:5
- John 8:12