“And so they left, and on their way they saw the same star they had seen in the East. When they saw it, how happy they were, what joy was theirs! It went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was.” [Matthew 2 v9-10]
The other night I looked out of the window to gaze at the star which shone so brightly and so beautiful it looked like a pearl suspended among the deep blue of the night. I imagined what it must have been like to see The Star, the one which the Magi followed to find Jesus. There is little doubt that there was something unusual in the sky, records from the Chinese Ancients tell of a bright star believed to be a rare constellation, other nations of the time record something similar. So how lovely it would have been to see that Star brighter than anything before and no wonder the Magi or Wise Men were so moved to follow it. Not knowing what it meant but absolutely sure that it had special significance.
What would it have been like to be in Bethlehem with that brightness in the town, illuminating the place around. The story of a child born in the stable would have caused enough interest among the locals, how many went along just to have a look. How many felt that something different was happening when all they heard the shepherds stories and then later on, the arrival of strangers? We will never know but we do know that everyone had a sense of Something in the air, there was such an air of expectation.
Now you may think that I might be jumping the gun talking about a star and stables and all that the Christmas narrative holds, but the events which led up to Christmas are as interesting as the main event. This journey of the Magi was started long before the meeting in Bethlehem, God’s Plan was set in motion and each facet was brought together in such a way as to ensure that the arrival of Jesus was marked in so many different ways by people from completely different backgrounds and understanding.
As we look towards celebrating Christmas this year we prepare in our different ways. We all prepare to some extent, presents, cards, plan for meals and what we will do on the day whether it is a meal with smaller numbers or a day of helping others. We prepare and bring together the decorations which includes the Star, which signifies the specialness of Jesus Birth and guided strangers on the way. The presents where we echo the devotion of the Magi by letting our loved ones and greater circle of friends know that they are special and that we think of them at this time. The meals where we celebrate the good things, the delicious things of life and think of how sweet life is when we are with the Lord.
Our biggest preparation is the spiritual journey we make each year as we count down the time for Christmas. With each gift and card we can pray for that person as we write or wrap. The sense we gain that there is something more in this world than we can ever imagine, the nearness of God becomes so apparent, that sense of Something in the air which cannot be described but where a certain Peace breaks out.
The light of the Star echoes the words of John who wrote in his Gospel “This was the real light—the light that comes into the world and shines on all people.” [John 1 v 9]. The Light of the world who is Jesus, lights up our lives stronger than any star with the constant warmth of love. The Light of the world who illuminates the path of life before us and who shows us the Way to God. May you all be Blessed as you prepare for Christmas and to celebrate the reason for season.
LET US PRAY
The constant strength in our lives, we give thanks for Your care for us this day and every day of our lives. We thank You for the preparations You made in order to save the world, by sending Jesus the Light of the world.
You are the rock to which we cling and who helps us through the different times of our lives and the difficult times we are facing right now.
We pray for those suffering because of isolation or the restrictions of Tier 4, be they physical, psychological, or spiritual problems. Grant them Your Peace that they might find the strength to face the days ahead.
Surround us with Your Love, enclose us in Your kindly care, may You hold each one of us in the Palm of Your Hand.
We ask in Jesus name.
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