Growing up, I didn’t fully understand the significance of the Epiphany until a priest gave a beautiful reflection on the phenomenon of the “Star of Bethlehem” which the Magi followed. The Star shows us just how much God wants to reach out to all mankind – He even went so far as to manipulate nature to lead pagans to an encounter with His Son. Not much is to be gained from wondering how God did this, or what exactly the star was in the heavens, but this does illuminate a great paradox: He was rejected by His own chosen people, the Jews (who could not even find room for Him in the inn) and yet great pagan kings from foreign lands travelled great distances just to pay homage to the newborn King. This just goes to show that God wants very much to embrace all His sons and daughters, and to have them come into relationship with Him.
I know for a fact that there are people in my life who do not have a friendship with God, for various reasons. Perhaps I speak for you when I say that it’s often tempting to not talk about God with those friends of ours, or to lovingly tell them that the way they are living their lives is sinful or harmful to their physical or spiritual wellbeing. Perhaps you think to yourself that they won’t take you seriously, or listen to you long enough to make your case. While these may be true, we shouldn’t put God in a box (no Christmas pun intended). In this new year, let us remember that we may be the only Gospel that our friends ever hear, and if we truly let Jesus be born in our hearts, then we will want to let Him out into the world! Let us always ask the Holy Spirit for guidance in our daily lives, to be open to the movements that He wants us to make in our circles of influence. The Magi followed a star to the birthplace of Christ, and that star was a beacon of hope for them. Let us be beacons of hope for our friends and family, for our colleagues and neighbours, and for everyone we encounter.
Pray without ceasing!