It's Christmas week, so there is much frenetic activity. We got stuck in Galleria traffic, after we ran a few errands following Round 9 of Chemo (all went well, no additional transfusion needed and her counts are good, continuing to climb - all in time for Christmas! YAY!)
When we were stuck at a light behind a long line of cars, I took in the sights. And in the Galleria, in Houston (since Halloween) - there are many to see. I know it is used to draw people into the various stores and spend money. But since December 25th is one of the two highest Holy Days for Christians, it doesn't escape me just how important decoration - especially lights are to celebrate Christ's birth.
The first ever "light" we hear about on Christmas is the star God used to show the wisemen the way to Jesus. But it didn't just hang up there all season long.
The star appeared, disappeared, then re-appeared.
That has tremendous meaning for me because it was exactly what I was feeling this last week. I can't always see God working - which is frustrating. I do wonder if the Magi - those practiced astronomers - were ever deterred by the fact that they couldn't see the star. Maybe the lights of Jerusalem, when they were visiting with Herod, blocked it out, like our modern day city glow does.
But when it was time to get back on the road, to get to where they could worship Jesus - God did not hesitate to again use supernatural phenomenon to lead the way.
For someone who desires to bring more meaning than Santa and presents into our celebration of Christmas and Advent, but also being someone who is struggling to just get the basics done every day - I can totally relate to things temporarily blocking out the light of My Lord.
Thankfully, though these dark days of wandering are not forever.
My favorite Christmas hymn "O Come, O Come Emmanuel" refers to a day when the Jews, in exile, waited for their Messiah - and reaffirmed their faith that He would come. I know Jesus not only meets me where I am today (even if I can't see it or don't acknowledge it), there will be a day when we will clearly, again see the light and know where He is leading us.
While I am yet in the dark, there are three things I am going to meditate on - as reflected by the Magi - to make sure my heart is prepared to see His light this Christmas:
1. Look - they would have never seen the star if they hadn't been paying attention. Herod and all the chief Jewish scholars knew where it would appear but they didn't see it. So, I need to make sure the eyes of my heart are open and looking around.
2. Hunger - it's quite possible that Daniel started this order, training them in prophecy, Jewish tradition holds. So, they could have just been about the routine of it. This might have been their job. What strikes me though is that their words in Matthew 2:2 are so urgent. They not only wanted to find this Messiah - they needed to. It was in the marrow of their bones. I could definitely want and need my Savior that much right now.
3. Worship - There is nothing more important to The Lord than real, honest-to-goodness worship. And when we meet Him - it is all we can do. It is built into us, the reason we were created - to be in communion with Him, His Creation and worship Him - through love. So many Christmases have past me by when I didn't dwell on the importance of that baby in the manger. I didn't give Him His due. I need this Christmas to be different.
The Lord used the medium those astronomers were most familiar with to speak to them. So, I can rest knowing He will do the same for me, when it is my turn to give back.
Lord, I need a star - the light of Your presence in my heart this Christmas. Use it to prepare me for what is to come tomorrow, through the radiation process and beyond. Let your light so shine in me this Christmas that people don't have to wonder why I'm different. Let me not wonder what you are, but revel in Who You are. Amen.