Monday, December 22, 2008

Stars and old dudes.

So every Christmas it seems to happen that I really connect with one part of the Christmas story. Last year it was Mary – her faithfulness, her willingness, the bizarreness of the entire situation for her. I felt her story was one which I have often overlooked.

This year, I am struck by the story of the Magi.

I am struck that God orchestrated this amazing celestial event to mark the coming of Jesus. This makes me consider the wonder and meaning of the stars up above. And I am struck by these men – non-Jewish men who saw this star and did not ignore it, but pursued it to a faraway place with extravagant gifts for the Jewish Messiah. The faithfulness and dedication of these individuals is not only admirable but inspiring.

This picture gives me great hope and joy for my own journey. I want so badly to follow that star that I see, even though it sometimes takes me to places which are really scary and unfamiliar. I want my life to reflect the faithfulness of the Magi – to follow God’s leading at all costs and to wherever I am lead. I want my heart to be open to new ideas which may seem crazy at foreign but are filled with Jesus.

I see that star today, and it is so bright and it is so clear. And it is so beautiful. And I intend to continue following it with all of my heart, soul, mind, and strength.

Merry Christmas, yo.


peaball said...

Thanks for your insights on the Magi. I never really considered them much before, like many things in the tradition, concealed beneath layers of cheesy pop depictions.

Now they are jumping out at me. I feel the magic, the incredibleness, but also the subversiveness... the Biblical magi even knew to lie to the Roman proxy ruler, Herod, to save Jesus' life from destruction.

This from Rita Nakashima Brock's "Saving Paradise: How Christianity Traded Love for this World for Crucifixion and Empire" (2008):

"In the time of Jesus, the Roman Empire used oikumene, Greek for 'household,' as shorthand for its self-aggrandizing claim that it controlled the world... Oikumene is related to the words 'economics,' 'ecumenical,' and oikos (people). .. Rome controlled oikumene.

The Gospels refer to the basilea (realm) of God as not of 'this world.' In saying this, they place Jesus and his movement in direct conflict with Rome's claims of power. When Jesus spoke of heaven, he referred to the world of God, not the world of Rome...

In Matthew 2, the heavens shine on the earth with special favor in the star of Bethlehem. The magi, from Persia, the direction of paradise, follow the star to find the heavenly visitation revealed beneath its glow. Rome had outlawed the magic and astrology of its nemesis Persia, the unconquerable empire in the east. That the Gospel of Matthew brought these magi to the cradle of Jesus was no accident, for they were the observers of the heavens, and they demonstrated that Rome did not govern heavenly portents. No matter how vast or potent, the empire was impotent wherever the Spirit of God was active in this world."

Sabrina said...

Yes Bre. My heart was stirred by a verse early in the year - and it was of the magi who left everything to follow the star. What does it look like for me to abandon life as I know it, the comfortable, predictable life I lead to search out Christ.

To think that they searched him out, not for days, weeks or months - but that it actually took years for them to get to Jesus (thanks Bible school)...that blows my mind even more.

We took the magi from the manger scene at Ken's parents and moved them out into the foyer...because really, they weren't there yet.

Hope your Christmas was filled with peace and the blessing of friends and family.

Much love.

Jessica said...

It's neat how you've been able to connect with different parts of the Christmas story. I love the connection you made/we can make to the Magi--if we desire, we can be people faithfully in pursuit of Jesus.
Sorry to have missed you while we were in Wpg! Hope you had a wonderful Christmas.