Monday, December 28, 2009

Monday, December 28, 2009

Today’s text

Matthew 2:9-11

Having listened to what the king had to say, they set out. And suddenly the star they had seen rising went forward and halted over the place where the child was. The sight of the star filled them with delight, and going into the house they saw the child with his mother Mary, and falling to their knees they did him homage. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts of gold and frankincense and myrrh.


I see these Magi, their camels tripping down gulches where the spring rains run. The beasts struggle up the other side. Their riders tip precariously to the side, holding tight lest they fall into the ancient sand, which cares nothing for them or their search.

It is beastly ride. No sensible person would do it without a good reason, and to the average eye they have no cause sufficient to call them from the firelight warmth of their homes, which are more comfortable than most.

But they press on, mile after unsmiling mile, bearing gifts of gold and whatnot, not knowing what they’ll find at the end of their trek, or even if it will have an end. I am unimpressed by their gifts but quite moved by their hope and dignity.

These are not modern souls, tempted to believe the lie that life is aimless confusion, just one thing after another. Just getting through the day--or their years--as unscathed as possible by their worst fears, this holds no appeal for them. They want more.

They believe there is more. An infinitesimal spark within suggests that existence has a plot and a purpose. Their long years of study have not been able to identify the source of this intuition or expose it as a lie.

So they search, believing that by watching the ancient stars through predictable courses they may catch glimpses of that plot and purpose. They believe that it is worth the work and the interminable waiting as they scan the dark skies where new things seldom appear.

Until now. And they go, following this light.

But what do they find? Arriving, they give reverence and gifts to the child, but what is here? A king? A ruler supreme? All they see is a child and a couple of impoverished parents.

The child can say nothing, and the parents have nothing to say. So … the Magi return to their homes and studies to watch the sky and wait to see what will become of this child whose light they followed.

Their life of hoping, waiting and watching continues. But they believe they have glimpsed something of that plot and purpose their hearts know they must find and follow, lest they grow old and despairing.

They have glimpsed something deep, something new of which they do not know the ending.

They are just like me, My Lord. Just like me. We glimpse the light of your nearness, but what will happen to this light I cannot yet see, only hope and believe.

So I watch and wait with the Magi’s faith, walking in the light I have seen, hoping and believing there is much more to come.

Pr. David L. Miller