Much better than in many places in the world is the view that we have of the night sky in southeastern Ohio. Wide open countryside provides a much better “venue” for seeing the dazzling lights spread across the canopy of heaven than do cityscapes whose auras obscure the tiny flames of fire that dance year after year attesting to the glory of He Who created them. Each celestial body is a miracle, each one a singular creation.
“Praise the LORD! For it is good to sing praises to our God; for it is pleasant, and a song of praise is fitting!… He determines the number of the stars; He gives to all of them their names. Great is our Lord, and abundant in power; His understanding is beyond measure” (Psalm 147:1, 4-5 ESV).
Red giants, yellow suns, and white dwarfs (not to mention neutron stars, black holes, nebulae, quasars, and pulsars), with a seemingly infinite number of variations of all of them, are all set into what would have been the inky blackness of night without them.
And yet no single star has as much historical and, indeed, spiritual significance as does the one that shone on the little, lonely town of Bethlehem leading spiritual seekers from lands far in the east.
“Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, ‘Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star when it rose and have come to worship Him….’ They went on their way. And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the Child was” (Matthew 2:1-2, 9 ESV).
See how all the starry hosts were forced to give way to the one whose light outshone with brilliance and glory all their efforts? See how the light of this special star was seen and discerned so that these eastern spiritual seekers could be brought to the Truth (see John 14:6)? Of all the stars that they could have followed, of all the signs that these wise men might have heeded, only one was worthy of the great trek that they took upon themselves. Only one was sufficient for the sacrifices of leaving family, friends, and important duties. Only one could lead them the right way.
But stars fill the skies of our lives today also. Twinkling all around us are lights that beckon us to follow. It seems that the whole landscape of our vision is exploding with flickering invitations promising to lead us to health, wealth, and happiness but lead to nothing in the end but disappointment, disillusionment, and spiritual death. But, just as in the day of the Magi, there is one Light that can actually lead us the right Way and bring us to the Truth. Only One is worthy of our devotion as it insists that we each arise from our life of personal pursuits and pursue the will of our Creator.
When I gaze into the night skies, I am humbled to think that in all of this wide and wonderful universe, there is one hurtling sphere especially dear to the Lord’s heart, so dear in fact that He Himself descended to it and dwelt thereon. And upon that hurtling sphere lives and breathes humanity, lost and adrift in the swirling cosmos, reaching for stars but reaping dust.
But how the heart of God yearns for a harvest of hope in our lives! He still beckons us to come to Him, to search for Him, and to leave all to follow Him (see Luke 9:23). He still says to us that, while there are countless stars in our lives to which we could give our lives, only One is worthy of the great trek that we must take upon ourselves. Only One can lead us the right Way. Only One can bring us to the Truth.
“When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. And going into the house they saw the child with Mary His mother, and they fell down and worshiped Him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered Him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh” (Matthew 2:10-11 ESV).
And if we too will follow the Light which leads us to God’s Truth, then we too may enter joyfully into His presence, worship Him, and offer Him such gifts as we have.
(Thom Mollohan and his family have ministered in southern Ohio the past 24 ½ years, is the author of Led by Grace, The Fairy Tale Parables, Crimson Harvest, and A Heart at Home with God. He blogs at “unfurledsails.wordpress.com”. Pastor Thom leads Pathway Community Church and may be reached for comments or questions by email at [email protected]).