The Daily Paine

I dreamed it was Christmas Eve, and while waiting for a green light I noticed the manger scene on the church lawn.  It’s all so overwhelming this Christmas business, I thought.  The shopping and singing and partying and gift-wrapping and Santa Claus and Jesus.  I feel wonderful then guilty then joyful then confused.  God help me, I thought.  And the light changed, and the baby in the manger smiled.”
–Joe Hickman

     “O star of wonder, star of night,
      Star with royal beauty bright,
         Westward leading,
         still proceeding,
      Guide us to thy perfect light.”
               –J.H. Hopkins

“Now why did that dratted Star appear?  It is taking months away from my work at the palace and this is the season when they have that wonderful BBQ and brisket.  Follow the Star, sure God willing and if the creeks don’t rise, and here the Tigris is flooding.  God, whose side are you on?”
Can you just imagine the Wise Men on their journey?  It was not an overnight business trip but it took planning and time had to be put aside for such a trip.  They had to lay the pleasures of their homeland aside.  Supplies had to be purchased and gifts made ready to take to the newborn King.  Possibly one of their camels became lamed along the way; there was also rivers to cross, the harshness of the desert and ruggedness of the mountains in their way.  Put yourself back in that time of history and think of the burdens of such a trip.  Add to it the fact that these men were used to comfort, now they are riding all day long on a camel and sleeping underneath the stars, just because they had to follow the Star.
All too often we see the Christmas story glossed over.  Seldom do we take time to ponder the reality of the events involved.  The Magi, used to a pampered life, has put it aside for what?  Following a Star.  So intrigued were they with this spectacle in the sky that they put aside their normal life for a span of time to find the newborn king.
Now look at us.  Does the Star still get our attention or have we become blasé?  Take a glance at your Christmas tree.  Look at the lights.  For just one minute imagine the light from the Star.  See, that light was not just something that was reflected in their eyes; it went into their souls and lit something in their heart.  Does the glance at the tree warm something in your soul or is it put up just for a season?
Go outside and look up at the heavens.  Look at the stars and find the Big Dipper.  Those are the same stars the Wise Men saw, save one.  Imagine now, a new one appears; there is something in the sky that has not been seen before.  There was the Star that led the way to the One who is the “light of men.”  God has now come down to man, to redeem him, to reconcile him back to Himself.  Allow that same wonder and light to illumine your heart.  Be thrilled with the Star that guides to the King as those Wise Men were guided ages ago.

“For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth.”
–Philippians 2:9-10 (NASB)