While in God's Grip!
After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem 2 and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”
~ Matthew 2:1 - 2
It's early Christmas morning and already my thoughts have moved beyond last night's Lessons and Carols and the beautiful candlelight service the small faithful group I worship with shared.
The sun hasn't even begun to rise. I came into the living area of our home and turned on the star to light my way to the kitchen to pour myself a glass of milk, so that I might write and meditate before the Christmas morning events begin. As I sit here and look at the star, my mind begins to gather thoughts of those who saw the star and were guided to find the Christ child.
I can't begin to imagine all that Jesus' earthly parents have already encountered, and now, a star rises, and serves as a celestrial announcement that something amazing has occurred.
Last night as one of the readers shared in our service, she became joyful, almost as a child, as she shared the scripture of Jesus' birth and his appearance. As she described the child, wrapped in swaddling strips of cloth, kept warm and safe in the manger, the quiet scene described possessed joy, hope, and possibilities.
I begin to smile when I recall her face, and her eyes as they seemed to sparkle with the same celebratory light of the star as she continued.
I paused again and looked at the star sitting in our living room and ask myself, "Would I have followed a star?"
Last summer I had friends who travelled across the country to be in the pathway of the solar eclipse. This "chance of a lifetime," was broadcasted around the world, and my friends came back sharing stories of what they saw and how it made them feel. They shared, "It was worth the trip," and encouraged me to make the journey one day.
A star. Heavenly signs. Jesus is born.
But even while I sit, I also know the life story of that child the Magi travelled to see. Even they were warned not to return in the same direction they had travelled to see him. For me, I realize that since the day I came to "know" this child born on this day so many years ago, my journey has not been the same as well.
In the light of the star in my living room I can't help but notice the shadow of the cross on the wall behind the star. For even as the Magi made their journey, a greater journey had begun for Jesus. Already he had come into the world, not to condemn, but to save the world. To cause the world to change and to seek a new direction. It began with a baby being born, a star, and continues with us.
Merry Christmas and Stay in God's grip!
G. Todd Williams (c) 2018
Rev. G. Todd Williams lives in the Houston metro area and is a Hospice Chaplain and ordained Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) pastor.