“When Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, in the days of King Herod, behold, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying, "Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star at its rising and have come to do him homage.”… And behold, the star that they had seen at its rising preceded them, until it came and stopped over the place where the child was. They were overjoyed at seeing the star, and on entering the house they saw the child with Mary his mother. They prostrated themselves and did him homage. Then they opened their treasures and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.” Matthew 2:1-2, 9-11
Our lives are a journey. As humans, many of us journey through life with no real direction, no path to a finish line, no star to guide the way. But as Christians, as Christ-followers, we walk through a world that is dark, and yet, we possess the gift that others are missing: the light of Christ lights the path that we must follow.
In 1998 a clever movie showed us life through the eyes of a bug. In “A Bug’s Life” two bugs are approaching a bug zapper light as one of them warns the other, Harry, to be careful: “No, Harry, no! Don’t look at the light!” Harry responds, “I can’t help it. It’s so beautiful!” as the light hypnotizes him, pulling him into its presence, zapping him and sending him falling to his death. It was a hilarious scene for those of us who grew up with bug zapper lights and it pops in my mind when I think of the Epiphany of the Lord.
Here are these wise men chasing after this light, so mesmerized by the brilliance of the light in the darkness, a King who would show them the way. We, too, are on a journey to the light like the wise men and the bugs in a “A Bug’s Life”. The difference is that the light of Christ doesn’t zap us, sending us spiraling down to our death; the light of Christ gives us life. On your path, don’t look to the left or to the right, for all you’ll see is darkness. Allow yourself to be so mesmerized by that brilliant light of Christ that you keep your eyes focused right ahead.
My personality thrives off of tradition, seasons, ceremonies that mark a beginning and an end. We’ve started a new one with the year 2017. What’s different from three days ago compared to today? Not much, just a 6 replaced by a 7. But we can choose to make a change, to start now. We can choose to dedicate and consecrate this year to seeking that light.
When December 2017 rolls around and you look back on this year, what do you want it to look like? Don’t name things that are out of your control. They will come and go. It could be a tragically difficult year for some of us. It could be a tough path to walk. It was for the magi. But we CAN control something just as they did: where we keep our focus and what gifts we give. Offer Him your gold, frankincense and myrrh this year. If it’s your voice, offer it. Your money, offer it. Your hands in service, offer them. Your ears in listening, offer them. Your possessions, offer them. We have much to give. May 2017 be a year of giving. May God know as a giving people.
And let us not walk through 2017 like zombies without a purpose, a goal, a finish line. We see our finish line and we know Jesus Christ is there shining so brilliantly our eyes will hurt. Journey to that light. Follow that star. The path is narrow that leads to life. (Matthew 7:13-14)
“I want to walk as a child of the light. I want to follow Jesus. God set the stars to give light to the world. The star of my life is Jesus. In him there is no darkness at all. The night and the day are both alike. The Lamb is the light of the city of God. Shine in my heart, Lord Jesus.”