Following the Star to Bethlehem

A Devotional by Pastor Emmanuel Ilagan

In a children’s story about Christmas and Epiphany, a little camel was complaining of a stiff neck.  The young camel was enlisted into a caravan of Magi traveling from the Middle East to Bethlehem.  “It is not easy constantly looking up and following that Star,” the little camel moaned.

The stiff neck of the youthful camel could have been avoided if the Magi had a GPS and knew the exact address of Mary and Joseph in Bethlehem.  But this was 2,000 years ago and satellites had not been invented yet.  The bright Star was the best guide the Magi could have.

To these astrologer-philosopher Magi however, there was more to that bright Star beyond its luminosity.  Probably inspired by the Holy Spirit, they believed that the Star signaled the birth of an important King.  They wanted to pay homage to Him.  They were willing to brave the dangers of thirst, hunger, wild animals and bandits in the long desert journey as they followed that Star leading them to this new-born King.

Today we have our own star that guides us in our life journey.  Like the Magi we want to follow the light of that star trusting that it leads us to the Lord Jesus.  But we can get distracted by other “stars” – money, power, sex, popularity, and so on.  Not that these things are bad in themselves; but they are false “stars” that can draw us away from the Lord.

Moreover sometimes our vision itself is blurred by immediate concerns.  Health problems, unfulfilled expectations from loved ones, job stagnation, failing grades — all of these could obscure our view. We may not have a stiff neck like that little camel, but personal issues can prevent us from seeing the true Star clearly.

But rejoice!  We not only have the light of a star to follow.  We have the Source of the light Himself  — the King Jesus.  He is the Light of the world.  Through His death and resurrection all distractions and all blurred visions are resolved. We can talk to Him and bring all our concerns to Him.  In fact He invites us to do just that:  “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Mt. 28:11).

God, our Father, You accompanied and took care of the Magi in their dangerous journey to Bethlehem.  Accompany us and help us focus our eyes on the Lord Jesus as we journey in this life, until that day when we will see and worship Him face to face.  Amen.