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They were on the tip toe of expectancy, waiting and watching for the long promised Messiah to be born. Suddenly the day by day ordinariness of their lives is changed for ever. They see a star shining more brightly than usual and, as they stare up at it, they feel an inner compulsion to set out on a journey, following it wherever it might lead them!

Have you ever had the experience of being called to take a risk that breaks up the safe security of the ordinary pattern of your life? What did you do? If such a moment has never happened to you, perhaps you secretly wish that a shining star would suddenly light up the predictable greyness of the ordinary routines of your daily living?

In his Christian oratorio ‘For the Time Being’ the poet W.H.Auden makes the three wise men explain what led them to Bethlehem.

The first says, “To discover how to be truthful now is the reason I follow this star”

The second says, “To discover how to be living now is the reason I follow this star”

The third says, “To discover how to be loving now is the reason I follow this star”

Then they all say, “To discover how to be human now is the reason we follow this star”

I guess there is in most of us, deep down things, a desire to be a different person – more loving – more caring – more at home in ourselves and more at home with ourselves. We long for ‘something’ to happen to us or that we will meet somebody who will transform our fearful self and create a ‘new’ person within us!

Maybe, as we stand at the gate of this New Year in the season of the Epiphany we need more than ever to be watchful, waiting for the ‘star’ to appear in the people, events, joys and sorrows of our lives. So often we fail to recognise the ‘star’ of God’s presence in the humdrum of our lives and, if we do, we draw back fearful that the journey will take us out of our depth.

I am sure that the wise men did not expect the heir of the throne of David to come in the shape of a defenceless baby born in a farm barn! We know that their lives were transformed for ever as a result of what they encountered at their journey’s end, because they returned home by a different route.

As our journey through 2019 begins let us be on the tip toe of expectancy so that we do not miss the ‘star’ of God’s presence in our lives and, then, let us pray that we may have the courage to take the risk and follow it into the presence of Christ’s love.

Questions

  • What do you think it feels like to experience God’s presence in your life?
  • Have there been moments and occasions in your life when you have felt that God has been calling you? If so, what did you learn about yourself ?