This is the fourth Sunday in Advent. We continue our search for the Christ Child.
Long ago, an astronomer saw the prediction that in a far eastern country a king would be born. The stars also told him that this king would be so special, his impact on the world so great that his birth would be a momentous event. To witness the birth of such a king would be an honor indeed. The astronomer and two traveling companions set out on their journey with the hope of seeing this new born king and presenting him with gifts.
We can only imagine what the trip was like. Across language barriers and through countries at war, where traveling might be dangerous. We are not sure how long it took them to finally reach Judah, charting their course through the desert by the stars, much as sailors did on the sea.
When they came to Jerusalem, they paused. Surely they were near — the star was brighter. Someone in the palace would be able to direct them to the exact spot where the birth of a King would take place.
They left Herod with the distinct feeling the new king’s life was in danger. They continued their journey and in a short time they found … a stable, a peasant carpenter, his young wife and a baby. This humble setting, the birthplace of a king? Surely this was not what they were seeking.
Has this happened to us? We follow the star of what we know is God’s leading and when we come to the end … there’s a stable. And we wonder, why did we try so hard if all we find at the end is a barn, and hay and animals and … other stuff that’s found in a stable?
We don’t know what thoughts went through the minds of the wise men who stood gazing at the baby in the manger, but somehow they knew they had found what they were searching for. This was the king. The star had led them to the right place.
When we follow a star only to find at the end something less grand than we expect, we need to look closely at the stable, look in the manger, find Christ. Chances are, we are right where God means for us to be.