A different, distinct, and distant star.
The most well-known light in the universe shone over 2,000 years ago. It was a different star than astrologers had ever seen, and they recognized the fact that this star was distinctly different. These wise men were no doubt Greek astrologers and spent their lifetime studying the stars. These wise men saw something in the east and they knew its meaning: the King, the Messiah was born.
Did they sometimes gaze at the heavens and perhaps wonder if that star signified the birth of the Messiah? This time, I think, they knew the star announced His birth. This star was different. It was time to travel to meet this new King. Their homeland was hundreds of miles from this new King, and they loaded their camels. It was time to set off across the desert to begin their journey, and they did.
These Magi set out to find the new King. They followed the star, and this star was distinct. Their MapQuest consisted of following the Star. All they had to do was keep their eyes on the star and follow it wherever it went. That’s what they did.
How long was their journey? We do not know. We can, however, surmise that it was an approximate two-year journey, for Herod slaughtered all the male children two years old and younger when the wise men did not come back to report to him where they found the Child. They didn’t come back because God told them (in a dream) to return to their country another way, and they obeyed.
In their journey, they traveled west to the city of Jerusalem. Did the star stop over Jerusalem, or did they follow the light and assume the light led the way to Jerusalem? Did they merely want to inquire where this Child was or assume He was born in the Jerusalem city?
At any rate, they met King Herod and inquired of the Child because of the distinct star. Herod sent them on their way, instructing them to return to him once they found the Child. When the wise men left Jerusalem, they were done with Herod, but Herod was not done with them or with this Child.
Their journey continued as they followed the Light of the star. The star led them to Bethlehem, to the place where the young Child was. By this time, Jesus was no longer an infant nor a baby.
At the beginning of their journey, the star was distant. With every step they took, they came closer to the star. The star did not come closer to them. They came closer to the star because they left their homeland and moved toward the star. Their journey ended when they entered the house. Yet, their faith journey had only begun! The purpose of their journey was to find the King, to present their treasures to Him, and to worship. No longer distant, the star stopped at the place they were to stop: where the Christ Child was.
Their journey was over, and yet it had just begun. Together, they presented gifts that signified Who He was. Gold as a symbol of kingship; frankincense (an incense) as a symbol of deity, and myrrh (an embalming oil) as a symbol of death1
In return, they experienced true Light. In following the Star that led them to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, they found the Light. The star brought light to their journey and showed the way.
Jesus, the Christmas star, brings Light that leads the way and lasts forever. No matter the journey or the terrain, He shines light on our path – if we but accept Him as Truth today. In that Truth, there is life and Light.
All photo credits: freebibleimages.org