Christmas pageants at church were such a memorable part of my growing up that images of wise men and shepherds always come back to me as the holidays approach. I was fascinated by the three magi and their journey following a star. In much of the Spanish speaking world, children are given presents on the feast of the Epiphany (Jan. 6)—el día de los Reyes Magos—rather than on Christmas. As a child I tried to imagine the excitement of riding across the desert following a star, convinced that it led to an event of cosmic importance.
I have now lived through more than sixty holiday seasons, some of them spent in foreign lands, but the metaphor of following a star still speaks powerfully to me. Ironically, the imagery is more powerful now that I no longer believe in the historical accuracy of three wise men riding camels across the desert.
The story speaks to me of how I need, how we all need, to follow a star. We need a star that will guide our path, a star that symbolizes our hopes, our aspirations. Heaven knows, we live in a time filled with distractions. The holidays, especially, can become frenzied. We can so easily lose our way pursuing the lures of consumerism. We can take on so many activities that we lose our focus. We need a star to guide us.
But we need to choose the right star. We need to ask ourselves which bright star will lead us through dark nights in the desert. The star that leads us to love, community, peace, compassion and hope is the star worth following.
May we choose our star wisely. May we join hands and set out together. What a blessing it is to follow our star together.
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Last updated on Saturday, April 27, 2013.
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