“And behold, the star that they had seen at its rising preceded them, until it came and stopped over the place where the child was.” (Matthew 2:9)
It is interesting to observe how differently families and faith communities deal with the “Three Kings” in their Nativity scenes.
Some place the figurines right there at the manger, along with the baby Jesus, as soon as Advent begins, while others keep them hidden away until the Feast of the Epiphany and only then allow their crËches to be complete.
These varying customs reflect the differing attitudes people have about Christmas, a point that came home to me on Dec. 26 this year when I was at a gathering and wished somebody a Merry Christmas only to be told I was too late!
I don’t mind these responses because they give me the opportunity to remind people that Christmas is a season and not just a day. And, unlike the secular “holiday” season that seems to be starting earlier each year, the true Christmas season only begins Dec. 25.
The Magi are good symbols for the fact that Christmas is a journey. Their legend has them traveling from an unknown foreign land to seek the Christ-child, a pilgrimage that would have likely taken months if not years.
And they followed a star, which to our GPS-enabled sensibilities might not seem like the most reliable way to find a particular home. But there is meaning in that star, for these people trusted in God enough to set out on the journey without understanding their destination.
Each of us is engaged in the same journey as the Magi. We too are beckoned by God and given no detailed road map, and the only thing we know for sure is that our task is to seek the Christ.
The Magi succeeded not so much because they found him (for he will always be found!), but rather because they had the good sense to recognize him when they did.
As we come to the close of another Christmas season, my prayer for each of us is that we, like the Magi, will be blessed with the good sense to recognize Christ when we find him. Within the CFCA community this blessing is realized on a daily basis, and for that we are so thankful.
May God bless you and the star you follow during the coming year. May it lead you away from the comfortable and predictable and deeper into your own heart. And, along the way, may you find joyful companionship in God and others.
- Seeing the face of Christ through sponsorship [1st Advent reflection]
- God shares in our humanity [2nd Advent reflection]
- Choosing to be ‘eager,’ not anxious [3rd Advent reflection]
- God dares us to dream big [4th Advent reflection]
- Glorifying God with fully human lives [Christmas reflection]
- We are God’s partners in serving others [2nd Christmas reflection]