The Brightest Star

Have you ever looked into the sky and looked for the North Star? There were multiple times when I was camping as a kid that my dad used to point me in the direction of the North Star when we would look up, and we would always marvel at its beauty and the wonder of the universe. (In case you were wondering how a kid could wonder that, I was always curious and more mature for my age.)

The North Star is called such because it sits above the North Pole and serves as a directional guide. It also might be where we get the phrase “find your true north,” because your “true north” is what helps you stay on track in life–your faith, for instance. Universe Today puts it like this: “the North Star shines with a humble brightness that belies its navigational importance.”

So isn’t it interesting that the first sign outsiders have that Jesus has been born is a star?

The wise men approach King Herod and ask him where the “King of the Jews” is because they have seen a bright star. When they embark on their journey to find Him, “the star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came and stood over where the young Child was” (Matthew 2:9). And what do they do when they see the star? “They rejoiced with exceedingly great joy” (Matthew 2:10).

To others, this star was simply a bright star in the sky that evening, but to the wise men, it pointed them in the direction of their King.

And that is who Jesus is. He is the light, the directional guide, our King. And we should rejoice and worship at simply seeing His sign. We should be joyful that He is here.

I don’t know about you, but that’s a reminder I need, especially now. I love the Christmas season, but I often feel rushed, like I have so much to do in addition to my every day, and I forget to rejoice. I forget to be joyful at His presence. I forget to remember that this season marks the birth of my Savior.

I pray you would take some time to rejoice, no matter how or where you do it. And I pray you would be reminded, as I am, to use Jesus as your true north.

The News

What is your reaction when you hear incredible news? Do you scream and shout? Gasp? Are you vocal or silent? Are you reserved or outspoken? Do you worship?

Worship? You might ask. But what if it was bad news? I’ve learned that it doesn’t matter the type of news we get, our first response needs to be to worship God with whatever we have in us.

Imagine being Mary. An angel of the Lord visits you and tells you that you’re going to be pregnant, even though you haven’t known your husband, and–wait!–that son will be the Savior of the world. My reaction might have been something along the lines of:

giphy-1

or

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But Mary seemed to respond calmly as she asked the angel how this would be possible. When the angel explained, Mary’s response was to declare herself a servant of the Lord: “Then Mary said, ‘Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word'” (Luke 1:38).

Man, I wish I could have that response to situations. I mean, I also wish an angel of the Lord would appear to me and tell me how things are going to work out (am I right? anyone?). But to have the confidence that it was God’s word that was spoken to you and to be excited about it is incredible.

According to the definition in my Bible, “word” here means something that is spoken, and the additional study material at the back of Luke (in my Bible) says this scripture is telling us to submit our plans and future to God’s will. So, she knew God told her this would happen, and she faithfully accepted the plan and submitted herself to Him.

That is remarkable to me. Mary had no idea what would happen next. All she knew was that she would give birth to Jesus. She left her uncertainty with God.

Granted, I have no way to know if she felt any uncertainty, but I know I would. And how often has something happened that I say “God, tell me what’s going to happen,” but He only gives me a piece at a time. Because that’s what He does. He works in such huge ways that He can only give us a small piece of His plan at a time, otherwise we would be overwhelmed. Imagine if He had told Mary everything to expect with Jesus. She may not have departed with such faith–she may have felt more fear and uncertainty, which would not propel her forward into God’s plans.

When something happens, we often want the whole picture right away. But, more often than not, God deals in short utterings, telling us only what we need to know right then. It’s a gentle nudge, a whisper of “do not be afraid…for with God, nothing is impossible.”

And worshipping is our indication to Him that we know that.

Searching For Home

One of my biggest complaints to my husband used to be “it doesn’t feel like home.” It’s why I wanted to move apartments and even states. To him, I’m sure it felt like I could never be satisfied with what we had. To me, it felt like we were missing something, like I was missing something.

Yesterday my church celebrated our first birthday. One year ago, I walked into that church looking for hope, with a deep despair in my heart. The instant I walked in, something felt right. The minute the pastor began his message, I knew I would stay. In his message yesterday, he said that it was the first place he and his wife had felt at home. That sentiment was echoed in the videos of others talking about their year at the church. And my pen started writing almost without me thinking.

Maybe I was searching for a place to call home when really my heart was missing something else: God. 

It didn’t matter where we were, I always felt out of place. I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s because I hadn’t truly accepted God for who He is: an ever faithful, never changing, good Father and Protector. I was searching for a place–and my husband–to give me a feeling that neither could ever satisfy. I needed to go to the source.

The reason I can say that so confidently now is because I would never have pictured myself where I am–not in this city, not in my personal situation, not even in my job. Yet, I feel more at peace, more content, than I have in a very long time. This church feels like home because God is there, but more because I have accepted who Christ is in my life.

Whatever you may be facing, no earthly thing will give you reprieve, will fill a hole, will make you feel like you’re home. But God can. Jesus can. He is our Savior and Protector.

Who do you say Jesus is?