The star they had seen rising led them until it stopped over the place where the child was. They were overwhelmed with joy to see the star.
Around this time of year, I think we all start looking at the stars a little more. We talk about the shining star that shone the way to Bethlehem, and in our mind's eye, it is the brightest star. When we show it in our Christmas plays, it is the biggest star. When we place it on our trees, it is the glory. When we place it among the other stars, it is clear that this is the star. And although the Bible doesn't tell us that this is the case - it only tells us this star was rising - I kind of like the idea of this being the biggest star.
Because I'm the kind of girl who spends a lot of time looking at the sky.
And here's the thing about the biggest, brightest star: depending on what kind of night it is, it may just guide the way to the others.
Here's what I mean. In the dark of night, I'll sometimes look up, trying to catch a glimpse of a star. Maybe I don't see any, not even one. But I keep searching, I keep looking for that little glimmer of light in the darkness. And sometimes, I find it. A strange thing happens as I train my eyes on that star - from the periphery, other stars start to come into focus. Suddenly, what looked moments ago like an empty sky is filled with the tiniest of stars, and I see every one of them. All because my eye caught the light off a brighter one, and it brought the rest to sight.
That's why I like the idea of a big, bright star over Bethlehem. It reminds me where to train my eyes. On a dark day or a black night, it's too easy to look out and not see a lot of anything. It's hard to stand in a hollow life and see much at all. It looks so barren, so empty, so desolate. Not even one star in the sky. But if you can catch the sight of the rising star, just one little glimpse of the light, then the other little things start to come into focus.
That's what happens when we fix our eyes on Jesus. A little baby, born of God, lying in a manger. Suddenly, I see. With my eyes on the God who comes into my world, into my life, in the hopes of coming into my heart, all the other little things start coming into focus. Grace over here; mercy over there. A touch of forgiveness, a wealth of redemption. That little thing that happened last week that I never could explain, that hope I have for tomorrow that I can't describe. All of a sudden, my life is aglow with these infinite specks of light that literally transform my landscape. I never would have seen them if I hadn't caught that first star, that biggest and brightest in the sky.
I wonder if the same wasn't true for the wise men. They were men out standing in their fields, as they were prone to do. Outside in the dark, I'm betting they had seen a lot of stars. I'm betting they had seen a lot of rising and falling stars. I'm betting they'd spent most of their lives looking at the stars. But this one caught their eye and set them on a journey. I wonder if it's because when they set their eyes on this one, everything else came into focus. I wonder if it's because from the sight of this one star, they saw the infinite lights coming into view. I wonder if it's because they saw how from this one star, they saw their landscape anew, filled with all of these little things they'd never seen before.
And it led them to a baby they just had to see.