A Journey of the Heart

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The journey of the Magi begins like any journey of the heart that seeks God.  It starts with being drawn out from what is familiar and led to something that exceeds our hopes and desires. As today’s Gospel proclaims (“they were overjoyed at seeing the star, and on entering the house they saw the child with his mother Mary.”)  At the consummation of their quest the Magi were overjoyed!!! It is the same joy that awaits every restless heart that will not find rest until it rests in God. For deep down in every human heart there is an awareness of God and deep down in every human heart there is a longing to be with Him. The greatest of all human quests is the desire to know God and, now, Jesus is that merciful dawn, that shining light who guides us. For Jesus’ birth and life was “for the light of men.”

God makes every effort to reach every person no matter how far away they are from Him. First, we have to remember the wise men were likely Gentiles, and not Jews who had come seeking the King of the Jews. The Jews thought the promised Messiah was for the Jews, not the Gentiles. This tells us that God never abandons anyone. If God can reach pagan Gentile astrologers, He is still working on people whom we may think are too far gone. God never gives up on anyone and He uses whatever means He can to help lead them to Christ. In the case of the Magi, God sent them a message using an astronomical event, a star, to signal to them that they needed to search for the child born as King of the Jews. God used a language they understood, he knew the best way to reach astrologers, was through a star, and these Magi paid close attention to that ever present star, as well as the prophecies given to Israel.  Using nature and divine revelation, God led them to the one who alone could fill their hearts.  To the Magi, this child was a king. He possessed more royalty in a cradle than Herod had in his fine palace. Somehow these wise seekers saw beyond the present and into the future — and in deep faith, they worshipped him.  They somehow knew that this child would one day rule the world and they were not ashamed to fall on their faces before him.  Think of the inherent contrast. Although we read that the Magi met King Herod, they make no effort to worship him. But when they finally find young King Jesus, these educated and extremely intelligent men fell on their faces before him. To this baby they gave the honor due a king. What Herod craved, the baby received. I believe the story of the Magi is meant to teach us something today about seeking the Christ child.  God wants us to be open to the leadings of his Holy Spirit. Today he speaks to us through scripture, through prayer, through others to lead us to follow His Son.

Just like the wise men, we should be ready to meet God in the midst of our everyday activities, because sometimes He lights our path in simple ways.  I was helping with the Christmas decorating at St. Matthew’s Church here in Winter Haven, Florida and the head of the decorating committee was giving us instructions on what needed to be done. She told us she had 14 cards with instructions for 14 individual projects and if there were not enough volunteers we could work on 2 projects or, if there were too many of us, we could help one another. Then she called for a show of hands and when she counted, there were exactly 14 of us. Coincidence, maybe; but I believe Jesus gives us these simple “aha” moments to let us know he is present even in the little things. The story of the “Wise Men” helps us to see that there is something special, something remarkable that awaits us at the end of our journey back to our creator. But we must be willing to put feet on our faith; then rise up and follow the star. “Oh Jesus Top of Form My Kindly Light, Lead Me Home.”

Sylvia Bates