We find ourselves this morning tantalisingly close to the feast of the Epiphany and apparently it’s a great time of the year to go star spotting.
The cold fresh winter nights seem brilliant for gazing into the heavens. But how do you know which stars you are looking at? A star chart comes in useful but sometimes bits of cloud obscure reference points and if you do find some interesting stars; what kind are they?
White dwarf, red dwarf, seventh dwarf, super nova – which sounds like Vauxhall’s latest model.
Just what have we seen, what’s come across our field of view?
Not that the wise men had that problem. On the contrary; they had a huge star to follow. Perhaps a comet, perhaps a conjunction of planets: whatever, they follow it to David’s city, Bethlehem; to a manger, to a child, born to be King;
and there they leave presents:
three of them:
Gold frankincense and myrrh.
So we assume three of them. But we may be wrong.
But we don’t see them again: they go home via a different route;
And that’s that.
They’ve spotted a star, plotted a star and followed a star.
Tomorrow we celebrate their success: the feast of Epiphany.
Literally a shining out, like the shining out of a star; a star that leads the wise men to Jesus, A celebration of the light that shines in us all now, as a result of his coming into the world.
Star spotting is still in fashion of course. Here we have people desperate for a glimpse of their favourite footballer or rock star, or both. Then others who pore over horoscopes anxious to find what the future holds. As if the whole of creation was ordered so that they will meet a tall dark stranger. That their auspicious colour is indigo and their keynote piece of furniture is the sideboard.
Others of course scan the stars to tell us the history of life, the start of the cosmos, the wonders of the universe and we even make our own stars. Our newest space station is visible to the naked eye.<br>
we celebrate the Epiphany to demonstrate the importance of the new light that has come into the world. So please do not see the Epiphany as a meaningless feast of the Christian Church, a sort of tacked on event to Christmas; no, it lies at the heart of the faith because we see demonstrated the glory that has come into our lives. It celebrates the coming of the light of Christ into the world. The glorious gift of God’s only son, that we might have life and hope.
So let Jesus shine, that we might walk as children of light in the light.
Let us have confidence in Jesus our Lord to show forth his glory in the world in which we live.
We don’t need to gaze at stars to know that our God reigns on Earth. We just need to point ourselves in the direction of the light and follow it now and always.