When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. After coming into the house they saw the Child with Mary His mother; and they fell to the ground and worshiped Him. Then, opening their treasures, they presented to Him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. – Matthew 2:10-11
The star that led the magi to Jesus was an exceedingly awesome light. Something was special about it. It wasn’t just a really bright star, nor was it special simply because it was out of the norm. This light had meaning, and the magi understood that.
A kingdom was breaking into the world, and it was starting at the birth of the new King. That’s powerful. And yet, for many, Christmas is a time that seems without power. In fact, the lights of Christmas often pale in comparison to the beauty of the star that led the wise men to Christ.
Part of this is due to a failure to understand that Advent is not so much about gifts and turkey, although those things are good. Giving is crucial to Christmas, but not in the way most Americans think of it.
Is this not the fast which I choose, To loosen the bonds of wickedness, To undo the bands of the yoke, And to let the oppressed go free And break every yoke? Is it not to divide your bread with the hungry And bring the homeless poor into the house; When you see the naked, to cover him; And not to hide yourself from your own flesh? Then your light will break out like the dawn, And your recovery will speedily spring forth; And your righteousness will go before you; The glory of the LORD will be your rear guard. Then you will call, and the LORD will answer; You will cry, and He will say, ‘Here I am.’ If you remove the yoke from your midst, The pointing of the finger and speaking wickedness, And if you give yourself to the hungry And satisfy the desire of the afflicted, Then your light will rise in darkness And your gloom will become like midday. And the LORD will continually guide you, And satisfy your desire in scorched places, And give strength to your bones; And you will be like a watered garden, And like a spring of water whose waters do not fail. Those from among you will rebuild the ancient ruins; You will raise up the age-old foundations; And you will be called the repairer of the breach, The restorer of the streets in which to dwell. – Isaiah 58:6-12
This is the majesty of that star which guided foreigners so long ago. We aren’t just supposed to follow the star to Christ’s manger, we’re supposed to keep following. All the way to the Cross, so that we can shine brightly through the Resurrection of Christ.
We should all shine to such a degree. Don’t you want to be called a repairer of the broken, or a restorer of the streets? I do.