Star Struck?

Over Christmas I found myself wondering about the Wise Men, and why they went to Herod in Jerusalem. They did discover Micah’s prophecy about Bethlehem there, while spreading the news far and wide, but there were dark and dire consequences in alerting Herod. We’re told in Matthew chapter 2 that after leaving Herod the star rose and led them right to the house where Jesus was, so presumably had they kept following the star they would have gone straight to Bethlehem. Did they get ahead of the star? Did they just put 2 and 2 together and make 5, assuming that Jerusalem was the obvious place for a king? Did they take their eyes off the star for a while? Any of these things are easy to do in life. Get ahead of ourselves, assume we know the right answer, take our eyes of the guidance we have been given. Lose sight of God in everything. We do this kind of thing all the time. It’s a sobering thought. Perhaps the travellers were making a habit of stopping off at places along the way to tell everyone the good news. I like to think that if nothing else, perhaps some of the folk who heard the news of the birth in Jerusalem went on to discover Jesus for themselves.

In an Advent video greeting from the Wayfarer Trust, Murray Watts spoke of the way we can be more like Martha than Mary through Advent, very busy getting all things ready. And with this in mind and thinking of those dedicated wise travellers who may have momentarily lost the plot, I’m aware that I often go running after my own ideas, as the Mary and Martha of Luke 10 (v 28-32) do battle in my heart and mind. Being still and focussing on God is always a battle. I think I know best and struggle to calm myself and refocus on the word made flesh: the author of all good things, and the strength and inspiration we need to make a difference in this life. How I need the regular nudges of God’s spirit, coming yet again in the ordinary moments to remind me of how much I need him.

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