Where the star leads


The lights can be seen for miles. Something like the Star of the East. This year, the Wise Men rise out of the Christmas story and speak to me. With all their studies, their charting, their search for knowledge, they sacrificed all to ride through the continent to find a King. Of course they started with the king himself - looking for his heir, no doubt. But all they found was a disgruntled and power-hungry king who tried to manipulate their little adventure for his benefit. They left the palace and ended up in a stable, worshiping before a mere babe, a humble, working-class newborn. I wonder how they felt as they laid their strange gifts down? Did the irony of those gifts strike them? Did the stars also foretell of His assassination?

I am on a knowledge quest of my own. The Wise Men remind me not to make the quest itself an end - to focus on what is borne of that knowledge instead of the gaining of it. I have looked for the King in country and in organized religion. But He is often not there. He is still in the stable, still in the humblest places, in the least expected corners of life. The Wise Men remind me to go looking for a newborn in a manger instead of a king in pomp and glory. I have felt deep embarrassment and uncertainty as I lay my gifts before that King. The Wise Men remind me that He is the one who judges the thoughts and intents of the heart. He does not scrutinize and criticize my gifts, but allows me to bring Him glory through the most ironic of offerings - my brokenness, my shame, my defeats.

I think, too, about my children. Am I preparing them for a life of this kind of adventure? Epiphany moments followed by humble and risky obedience? Will I show them what it means to follow Christ wherever He leads, however dangerous the journey, however unlikely the arriving place?

This year, I'm following the star and hoping for true wisdom. I come only to worship and lay my gifts down. I am walking in the footsteps of the fallen, on the path that leads back to the lowly manger and the holy family, surrounding their newborn son along with the angels, the shepherds, and the beasts.

Do you see what I see
A star, a star
Dancing in the night
With a tail as big as a kite

Said the shepard boy to the mighty king
Do you know what I know
In your palace wall mighty king
Do you know what I know
A child, a child
Shivers in the cold
Let us bring him silver and gold

The child, the child
Sleeping in the night
He will bring us goodness and light
~Do You Hear What I Hear?~