Your Star – Good News for January 2

2 01 2011

Matthew 2:1-12

When Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, in the days of King Herod, behold, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying, “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star at its rising and have come to do him homage.”

When King Herod heard this, he was greatly troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. Assembling all the chief priests and the scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. They said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it has been written through the prophet: And you, Bethlehem, land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; since from you shall come a ruler, who is to shepherd my people Israel.

Then Herod called the magi secretly and ascertained from them the time of the star’s appearance. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search diligently for the child. When you have found him, bring me word, that I too may go and do him homage.”

After their audience with the king they set out. And behold, the star that they 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.

The Daily Path: We know very little about the Magi who followed the star in search of the Savior. We can’t say for sure what lands they came from, only that they were called to follow that star, honor the child and heed divine warning. I’d like to think that they were driven onward by one thing, finding Christ. Perhaps it’s over simplifying matters but by now you should know that I like simple.

I didn’t have a star guiding me from up in the sky showing me the way back to my faith, but I did have signs from heaven (God). I believe that we all do. I continue to look and listen for God’s presence in my life. The Star of Bethlehem is everywhere for us to follow, if we look and are determined to find God in our life.

Look up. Look down. Look around. Find your star.





Taking Flight – Good News for December 28

28 12 2009

Matthew 2:13-18

When the magi had departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I tell you. Herod is going to search for the child to destroy him.”

Joseph rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed for Egypt. He stayed there until the death of Herod, that what the Lord had said through the prophet might be fulfilled, Out of Egypt I called my son.

When Herod realized that he had been deceived by the magi, he became furious. He ordered the massacre of all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had ascertained from the magi. Then was fulfilled what had been said through Jeremiah the prophet:

A voice was heard in Ramah, sobbing and loud lamentation; Rachel weeping for her children, and she would not be consoled, since they were no more.





Modern Magi – Good News for December 18

18 12 2009

Matthew 1:18-25

This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about. When his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found with child through the Holy Spirit. Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man, yet unwilling to expose her to shame, decided to divorce her quietly. Such was his intention when, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home. For it is through the Holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her.
She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”

All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: Behold, the virgin shall be with child and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel, which means “God is with us.”

When Joseph awoke, he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took his wife into his home. He had no relations with her until she bore a son, and he named him Jesus.

The Daily Path: I’d like to share an excerpt from the closing paragraph of O. Henry’s classic short story, The Gift of the Magi…

The magi, as you know, were wise men–wonderfully wise men–who brought gifts to the Babe in the manger. They invented the art of giving Christmas presents. But in a last word to the wise of these days let it be said that of all who give gifts these were the wisest. O all who give and receive gifts, such as they are wisest. Everywhere they are wisest. They are the magi.

Over the past week, the three magi visited me. They came unannounced and completely unexpected. Each arrived at a different time. Each bearing gifts and acts of unbelievable kindness towards me. Two of these magi were made known to me. The third arrived mysteriously, as if in the night, keeping their identity hidden from sight. Just as the original wise men were inspired by God to visit, so too were these modern magi.

I cannot describe these gifts to you, for any attempt to do so couldn’t begin to illuminate their true value. Let me just repeat that I’ve been given the amazing gift of God’s abundance. He continues to provide what is needed when all human logic would point me towards despair. I feel like Jimmy Stewart’s character, Harry Bailey, from the Frank Capra film It’s A Wonderful Life. Like Harry, I’ve been taken down a rocky path. But through these times I’ve been given a great gift to see things now that I could never fully appreciate before. There is a God who loves me and, no matter how often I stumble, is always there to pick me up. I have a family that provides endless joy. And, I have friends, many friends, who, when I need them most… well… they are wisest… they are the magi.

Wherever you are, and in one case whoever you are… thank you.

Room to Chat: For he shall rescue the poor when he cries out, and the afflicted when he has no one to help him. He shall have pity for the lowly and the poor; the lives of the poor he shall save. Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, who alone does wondrous deeds. Wondrous deeds, indeed! Friends, do not be afraid.





Camels At Your Door – Good News for January 4

4 01 2009

Matthew 2:1-12

When Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, in the days of King Herod, behold, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying, “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star at its rising and have come to do him homage.”

When King Herod heard this, he was greatly troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. Assembling all the chief priests and the scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. They said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it has been written through the prophet: And you, Bethlehem, land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; since from you shall come a ruler, who is to shepherd my people Israel.

Then Herod called the magi secretly and ascertained from them the time of the star’s appearance. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search diligently for the child. When you have found him, bring me word, that I too may go and do him homage.” 

After their audience with the king they set out. And behold, the star that they 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. 

The Daily Path: The magi visited me yesterday. No, I’m not crazy, nor did three kings on camels pull up on my front lawn. However, I did receive a timely gift for which I am most grateful. I’m sure it was the answer to so many prayers. One of my first responses was to say “thank you” to God. 

I think the magi are very active in our lives. God sends many blessings our way in the course of a day. Some are so small they barely register. Others are big. Often they are overlooked. We don’t have to prostrate ourselves immediately as the magi did. But when we are aware of the gifts given us, a simple “thanks” is always possible.

My friends, look for the star overhead in your own life and give thanks when you find God’s gifts to you. 

Room to Chat: Saying the Our Father when you first wake up is a great way to start the day.