“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.’” Matthew 2:1-2
Our nativity scenes that we recreate for Christmas always depict the wise men worshiping Jesus in the stable. But truthfully, the wise men came from far away and when you study commentary it says that they probably were actually several months, I have even heard a couple of years later. Also, we depict them as kings, when they were probably astronomers and/or philosophers. Something else I had never really paid close attention to in this story was the continuity of the star. In my mind, I thought they had followed the star every night on their journey to Jesus. But if you look closely it’s quite possible that the star was not there every night.
The wise men were headed to find Jesus who was still in Bethlehem at the time. They went by way of Jerusalem and had an encounter with King Herod. Now some may say that they lost their way, but because it is noted, you have to realize that even though it stirred up Herod, who was a pretty bad guy that it is a significant part of the story. You see God can and will even use the parts of our story when it seems we may lose our way. And then what is stated next is what made me realize that the star was probably not visible every night.
“After listening to the king, 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. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy.” Matthew 2:9-10
Did you catch that? “behold, the star they had seen” (past tense) “went before them”. The star did not lead them every step of the way, but when the time was right, it rose again to lead them straight to Jesus.
Sometimes life for us is like that too isn’t it? We think we know a direction God is leading us. Then we can’t see it anymore and we have to take a few steps simply on faith. And eventually behold, we can see God’s hand directing us again. It may not be in the way of a star, but it is something in our mind that we can finally see our way more clearly. I think we can learn a few things from these wise men. They may have looked like they lost their way, but when the time was right BEHOLD the star rose again in the east and led them straight to Jesus, straight to their purpose. Keep following your star and when the time is right, behold it will lead you straight to your purpose too!