My sister cried with a sense of overwhelming joy as she described this Christmas’ gathering at her house of all her children and grandchildren. “I am so grateful,” she said through her tears.
“Raise your eyes and look about;” Isaiah calls out,
they all gather and come to you:
Your sons come from afar,
and your daughters in the arms of their nurses.
Then you shall be radiant at what you see,
Your heart shall throb and overflow….”
As I listened to her I remembered reading about the sidewalk stabbing death of a 15-year-old African-Norwegian boy by neo-Nazis in what the United Nations Human Development Report ranked as the best place in the world to live, Norway. The murdered boy’s mother described spending days just looking at the wall.
In his fear, King Herod sent the Magi to Bethlehem and said, “Go search diligently for the child. When you have found him, bring me word, that I may go and do him homage.” His plan actually was to kill him.
The Magi were stargazers, dreamers, men who sought wisdom, who overcame their fears and found light; Herod, a king, with a narrow vision, full of fear, sought only power and control, and wreaked destruction. Jesus was born to be a revelation to all the world’s darknesses. The Magi followed a star because they sought wisdom and they believed without finding until a journey’s trusting brought them to Jesus. We walk the same journey, sometimes we see and sometimes we just keep walking.
We are being challenged today to dream of a better life – a better life for ourselves, for our family, for our society, and to face the painful road of fear that keeps it from happening. Herod wanted control; the Magi were willing to give up control for the sake of their dream.
We are being challenged to walk this week with life’s uncertainties, trusting that we will be led to the light, led to a new sense of wonder, led to a greater realization of love in our lives. What journey are you being called to this week? What are the next fearful steps along the way for you? Let yourself name it here and now. Pledge yourself to, as it were, “return by another way,” as the Magi did after encountering Jesus, away from destruction, accompanied by the light.
May the path you take this week be filled with wonder!
Photo: NASA Hubble Space Telescope's view of the Polar Ring of Arp 230. Photo by ESA/Hubble & NASA and in the public domain.