Countdown to Christmas: Day 11. "The First Noel"
The First Noel
And by the light of that same star
three Wise Men came from country far;
to seek for a king was their intent,
and to follow the star wherever it went.
Earlier this year our family moved from suburban Detroit to Holland, MI. We still miss our friends and neighbors, but there’s something incredible about life here: the sky.
There’s more open space here; the stars don’t have to compete with lots of city lights. On some nights, when I take the dog out before everyone goes to sleep, I’ll take a minute to stare at the stars. I’m not great with the constellations, I can only pick out Orion and the respective Dippers.
The Wise Men, however, weren’t recreational stargazers. They weren’t looking for shapes, they were looking for a sign. For them, the night sky was loaded with clues to help them unlock the mysteries of life. If you read the stars right, you could get insight for personal problems and national crises. The Wise Men were tracking a rare astronomical event, possibly a conjunction of planets, with critical implications. So, they picked and packed specific gifts and began a 700-mile journey. It would have taken weeks, if not months.
And if you tracked their journey by map, it wouldn’t have been a straight line from Babylon to Bethlehem. They didn’t know exactly where they were going. The bright light was moving over the weeks, so every night they’d course correct to make sure they were still on track. Every choice they made needed to serve their primary objective: to find the King.
They “followed the star wherever it went.” This is still the essence of a vibrant spiritual journey. Faith is dynamic, not static. I don’t make “a” decision to follow Christ, I need to make thousands of decisions to ensure my spiritual trajectory still points towards Jesus.
Jesus says, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross daily, and follow me.” The Wise Men made small tweaks and big sacrifices to get to Jesus and Jesus invites us to do the same.
Where do you sense God leading you these days?
In your relationships? In your work?
In your battle for sobriety?
In your character? With you anger or fears or dreams?
Are you ready to follow the star wherever it leads?
The route won’t be direct, but it will always take you to the King.