That Star!

One of my favorite Christmas songs is “Do You Hear What I Hear?” The song is often sung by children around Christmas time and features the night wind asking the little lamb the question, “Do you see what I see?” The song rises to a beautiful crescendo as we hear the words, “A star, a star, dancing in the night, with a tail as big as a kite.” There is nothing quite like the voices of a choir of young children singing this beautiful song.

This weekend, we celebrate the Epiphany. The magi, bearing gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh, were led to Bethlehem by a star. This, of course, was not just any star but the star of Bethlehem. The magi identified the star and determined that it would lead them to the Newborn King. They made the mistake of stopping at Herod’s palace to make some inquiries. Herod was greatly troubled by the visit and tried to engage the magi in his own evil plot to make sure this new king would never cause him any problems. The magi were astute enough to recognize that something was wrong, so they headed home by another route to avoid Herod.

The star that led the magi to Jesus was not just any star. In our day, many people follow stars that will never lead them to Christ. There are shining stars promising riches and worldly goods. I have met many people in my life that followed such stars, only to end up unhappy and broken, still searching for the star that would bring them true happiness. I have known people who followed the star of success such as athletics, academia or career. If Christ is not part of the plan, that success, once attained, is often a road leading to unhappiness and disappointment.

The prophet Isaiah poetically describes the glory of the star that leads to Christ:

“Then you shall be radiant at what you see, your heart shall throb and overflow, for the riches of the sea shall be emptied out before you, the wealth of the nations shall be brought to you.”

We must be discerning of shiny objects. It is easy in our lives to become distracted by shiny objects such as wealth, power or passion. These “apparent goods” promise happiness, but there is always a price! The Evil One is lurking in the shadows, when we start looking over the fence toward greener pastures instead of being grateful for what we have in our own lives.

A dear friend of mine achieved tremendous success in sales, as a very young man. He was so successful that he regularly received huge financial bonuses. He married a beautiful woman, and they had several children together. My friend loves his children very much, but the demands of his job require him to be “plugged in” almost 24/7 in order to respond to any crisis. At one point in his successful sales career, his boss brought my friend and another successful salesman into the office. The boss informed the two men that they could no longer travel on the same plane together in case the plane would crash, and he would lose his two best sales people. How sad.

God sends people and situations into our lives at various times and for various reasons. God also permits evil to exist along with good. It is so important for us to discern carefully the star that we are following, to make sure it is in line with God’s plan. I know many fine Christian people who hold prominent positions, and yet they still manage to remain humble and dedicated to faith and family.

The star that leads us to Jesus will always shine much brighter than other stars in our lives. In times of darkness and difficulty, we may lose sight of that star. We may feel as though God has left us hanging, especially in times that challenge us the most. We are told that the magi were overjoyed at seeing the star and fell prostrate in worship of the Christ child. They sought the Lord diligently, and they found him just as the prophets had foretold. Jesus Christ is the shining star of our lives. He will never leave us or fail us. Let us search for Him and follow wherever he leads.

In the Light of Christ,

Deacon Tim


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