Star, Witness, Renewal
I have been fascinated with stars since I was young. Why do they twinkle? Why do we wish on the first star of the night? Why do we see different star patterns at different times of the year? I incorporated my interest in star gazing when I was homeschooling my children many years ago. We used a wonderful book by H. A. Rey, The Stars: A New Way to See Them, that young and old star gazers can read to learn about stars and finding the constellations quite simply at any time of the year.
The Magi were stargazers or astrologers; in Christian tradition, they are also known as Wise Men. The Scriptures tell us:
the star that (the Magi) 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.
And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod,
they departed for their country by another way.
Christian tradition also holds that the Magi were travelers from the East who viewed the star as a sign of a great event, the birth of a mighty king sent by the Divine. They embarked on a pilgrimage to find this newborn king and honor his arrival. The Magi were first witnesses to the Incarnation, God made flesh.
What is the star I follow to find the Divine King? How do I witness to the Incarnation? Do I live my faith life “another way”, a renewed way, after and encounter with Christ?
This Advent I decided to prepare for the coming of the Christ Child in a new way. Borrowing from the Advent tradition of the Jesse Tree, I meditated on the readings each day, but wrote the story of my own Salvation History learning many things about my journey of faith. This was the star I followed.
Christmas 2021 has been hard for many of us as the second holiday season of the global pandemic. It would be easy to give in and say, “Forget all of it, the decorating, shopping, baking, and gathering. Why put up a Christmas tree? My family can’t visit.” This Christmas, it was more important for me to decorate the house, bake the cookies and bless our Christmas tree. Though we could not gather with extended family, I found it important to help myself and the people who live with me embrace the joy of celebrating the birth of Baby Jesus. This was how I witnessed to the Incarnation.
The quiet Christmas of 2021 has opened my heart to the simple beauty of Christmas. I encountered the Baby Jesus in the midst of the Holy Family as I shared the day with my holy family. I realized how much I crave the simple, the quiet and the holy I experienced this Christmas. With God’s grace, my faith life grow “another way” from this encounter with Christ.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you!