On the way to the manger, the wise ones knew where they wanted to go. The directions got a little complicated, (We know they were wise because they stopped for directions). But simple clarity about what they were following and why held the journey steady. "We follow the star sign so that we can pay honor to the newborn king of the Jews."
I want to keep that kind of clarity in my own life. I want my course to be held steady, even when it gets complicated, by knowing who I'm journeying toward and what signs guide me.
I also want a place in the story alongside the wise ones. Christmas always holds an edge of potential danger. As much fun as it is to receive gifts, it too easily becomes all about what I want. Maybe this is why the Wise Ones' story stays with me. They respond to God's great gift of vulnerable presence with gifts of their own: prophetic, generous, and a little odd.
If we're authentic about following Christ signs today, what gifts will be called out of us? Answers are unique to each of us depending who we are and what road we travel toward the signs. They depend on where we're headed. Are you and your faith community trying to:
Get back what you were?
Sustain where you are?
Stretch a little?
Become something new?
Sometimes we're headed one place in our head and another place in our heart. That, I suspect, was the real test the wise ones traveling to and from Bethlehem faced. They learned to recognize the danger signs as well as the sacred ones, and to shape their travel route so as not to defeat their original purpose.
May God bless your coming in and your going out of the sacred spaces where God leads you. .