Billions of them dance across the night sky – like diamonds in the darkness, little points of light against a sea of endless black.
Stars have shone for ages and ages and ages – lending their glow to the night sky for millions of years.
Venture outside the city sometime, way far away from the street lights and neon signs shining in strip malls, parking lots, and in front of box stores.
Get away from all that can pollute the urban or suburban sky – and look up. Gaze in wonder.
Those stars will be there shimmering and glimmering whether you look at them or not – as if they have been freshly hurled across the dark expanse by the hand of God Himself – which of course they were.
Stars, billions of them, dance across the night sky. Most of them are nameless, few of them ever noteworthy on their own.
In the history of the universe, one star outshines the rest. That star made a statement. That was the star that heralded hope for all who would ever gaze heavenward again.
Perhaps it began as an ordinary star and grew brighter and brighter until all others seemed dim.
Or perhaps it burst against an ebony backdrop like a singular bottle rocket on a 4th of July night.
Whatever the case, it hung like God’s favorite ornament in the sky that night and it commanded the attention of the mere mortals below.
I could write the story myself, in my own words, but I could never express it as dignified and grandly as St. Matthew did in the Gospel that bears his name:
“…. And behold, the star which they had seen at its rising preceded them, until it came and stopped over the place where the child was.
They were overjoyed at seeing the star, and on entering the house they saw the child with Mary his mother.”
This star called the wise men, the kings, the magi – whatever we choose to call them – to worship and caused them to rejoice. But it was nothing more than a light for their pilgrim path. It was not the object of their worship: it simply pointed the way. And when it stopped, when at last it stood still in the sky, they knew they had arrived at their destination and their journey had ended.
But it had really just begun.
There in the stable under the star, those wise men: Balthasar, Melchior, and Gaspar as they are traditionally called – first laid eyes on holy flesh. They encountered God on earth. They must have known in their hearts the magnitude of the moment.
When they entered the place where the little Boy lay, they fell down and worshipped Him.
I wonder how long it took for them to compose themselves in the presence of such greatness, even though His majesty was small enough to hold in their hands?
The radiant star they had followed as they traveled to see Him must have vanished from their memories when they looked into the tiny face in the manager. In fact, in this story of the Savior’s birth, there really is only one STAR: and his name is Jesus: God from God and light from light.
I believe He is the Star of the great drama called history.
I believe that, without Him, life is missing its focal point – and our lives would be missing a center.
Without Him, the paths we travel on during our years here on earth would be rocky and slippery, our days dark and empty.
He is not only the One we worship: He is the One we follow. He is the only One we can trust to lead us, the only One worth walking behind.
Many of us have walked behind this Star for years, following Him day by day on the most adventurous and amazing journey.
Hopefully during the Advent and Christmas season, you have re-experience His presence – and re-ignited the flame He has placed within your heart.
And hopefully in the midst of the hustle and bustle that we call life – when nothing seems to be going right and you have lost your way --- you won’t forget to look up from time to time –
and re-center yourself--- by following --- the Star: Jesus Christ who is God from God, and light from light.
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