“Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage.” Mt 2:2
I was blessed with great peripheral vision. It allows me to see things many people miss. My brother, on the other hand, was not. The difference in our range of vision was always an issue when we drove together. I would see an eagle flying far off to the side of the car and call attention to it. My brother would not see it and tell me I was wrong.
My brother’s reaction is typical among those who do not see what others do. It is not limited to a hawk resting in a distant tree. Great mathematicians have a vision for numbers few possess. Exceptional musicians see notes and compositions in a way I’ll never comprehend. Take any profession from builders to bankers, artists to astronomers; corporate executives to inventors; each sees in a specific way few outside their profession understand.
There is an issue with sight in the story of the wise men that has always bothered me. How do you know when you are directly under a star? For example, how can one tell if a specific star is over Minneapolis or St. Paul? I don’t see it.
Pastors tend to create less than accurate answers to questions like these. At the same time, modern intellectuals will minimize the intelligence of the ancients, like the wise men. The truth probably rests somewhere in between. Two things are for certain. Mystery is an integral part of faith and life. And, someone in the ancient world saw something we in the modern world missed. Just because we do not see it, does not grant us the right to say it is false.
Throughout the biblical story of Christmas, the people trained to see God do not. The story does not take place in the Temple. Nor are the characters priests. Even the first formal proclamation of the baby Jesus’ uniqueness comes from outside the Jewish faith altogether. Why did the priests not see the same star as the wise men?
There is a lesson here for those who are willing to see it. God acts within the hearts of those open to receive the interaction, without discretion of condition. Here, the fullness of God descends upon the earth most inconspicuously. However, throughout scripture, God comes into the ordinary aspects of life with its blessings, challenges, and fractures. Sanctuaries are places for giving thanks, not necessarily divine encounters.
Do you see God working in your life? Your sight might improve if you just open up your heart to the encounter.
Click to read: Matthew 2: 1-12
- When was a time you saw something others did not? Or, you failed to see something other did?
- How did it make you feel?
- How open is your heart to encounter God?
- What practices help your heart open up?