Spending the winter months in the desert gives one a different perspective at night for most often the night sky is clear and the stars and planets are clearly visible. Helen and I have had the opportunity to experience this perspective this winter at Yuma Arizona located as we are in the Foothills area which is in the eastern end of the City.
In the era of GPS we tend to forget that navigators of old found their way around by relating their position on the ground or in the water by reference to the stars and planets. This would have been the case for the Magi who were desert dwellers and students of the night sky. They used their understanding of Astronomy to find the infant Jesus in Bethlehem by locating and then following the star that heralded the arrival of the Messiah.
Most of us are familiar with the story of the 3 wise men. They arrived in Bethlehem after a long journey bearing gifts for the infant Jesus and paying homage to Him. They were very likely the first gentiles to encounter Jesus drawn as they were by the light of the star.
The star, the symbol of spiritual light, was at the time a messenger for Jesus, the incarnate Son of God. Hope sprang into being as the darkness of the world was penetrated by a great light in the person of Jesus who was to illuminate the path for all of us. This did not just herald the start of another great world religion somehow equal to or on the same level as other world religions as modern secularists would have you believe. Jesus was not just a great prophet but by His own admission was God himself. He came to live among us and gather us to himself. His message was Love, always Love.
If we are His followers then we must also be the “light” for those around us for Jesus no longer resides in the stable of Bethlehem. Even though we struggle with our own sinfulness we are still called to be “light”. Each morning as we shave or brush our hair we need to look at the reflection staring back at us and remind ourselves that we are gazing at “light” and that Jesus is depending on us to feed the hungry, welcome the stranger, and forgive. Of course the hungry are not just those whose stomachs are empty but may well be those who hunger for other necessities. Perhaps they are members of our own family with whom we fail to communicate our love in meaningful ways or whom we ignore.
By being “light” we proclaim Jesus to a world desperate for His healing touch. We don’t need to preach from a soap box or proselytize. We just need to love and we do that by being attentive to the needs of those around us. Let others see in us the reason for our hope and the peace that accompanies that hope. Move out of the shadows and allow your light to be seen. It will make a world of difference to many who will then allow their light to shine. Little by little the darkness is dispelled.
May this New Year, the year of mercy, be a time to meditate on what it really means to be an ambassador for Christ. Jesus wants to use each of us, no matter our station in life, to help others to come to him.
A Happy and Blessed New Year to each of you!