It is so easy to loose sight of what is important at Christmas; it just turns into countless Christmas parties, finding the ultimate gift and gorging yourself on food, when, really, it is all about Jesus and it took a really intense church sermon yesterday for me to see this.
Instead of telling the normal Christmas story, my pastor focused about the relationship between the stars and the three wise men. (Shout out to Blue Ridge Church) You see, the three wise men were astrologists, they knew all the stars in the sky and they had tracked the patterns of these stars for years. So when they saw this new star signifying the birth of Jesus Christ, they immediately wanted to find the source and celebrate this. God loves those who seek him, and those three wise men were doing just that. It's crazy how one little star led them to such a miracle, they didn't need anything but a star to see the truth. Without a star, they would have never looked to find the source, never found Jesus, and never made it into the nativity scenes we put up each year.
God plants stars in our everyday lives that point us toward him and this past year, it seems I have had a million of these stars. But given my supremely stubborn nature, I often chose to not look at these stars and follow my own path. There were so many times when a star was particularly bright, and I chose to look away, choosing to try to forge my own path. I was constantly seeking earthly comforts this year, instead of just looking forward to my most recent star. I am so embarrassed to say that I fought Him almost every single day. And it finally took Him making me lose someone close to me, as my final star of the year, to seek Him. It's almost as if He tried to do every possible thing to make me see Him, and then when we realized my eyes were closed, He had to do something drastic to jolt my world back into place. I would be lying if I said it wasn't painful and that everyday I think about the pain that the star is causing me, but I need to follow Him and not question, just like the three wise men did.
Later in the sermon, Pastor Scott was praying for us all. It was a beautiful prayer, but instead of focusing on the words, I cried out to the Lord asking why my star was so painful, why he couldn't have chosen a star that would have been easier for me to heal from. I realized in that moment I was hopelessly broken and there was nothing that I could do to fix it. In that moment, I knew God felt my pain and he wanted nothing more than for me to be whole again. It wasn't up to me, it was up to Him. Up to His grace, and His love and His loving Holy Spirit. Christmas isn't about gift giving or eggnog, it's realizing that Jesus is love and even though we are so broken, he will love us back together. Look for your stars, and follow them mercilessly.
Finally, thank you to Blue Ridge Church and Pastor Scott for opening my eyes to what Christmas means, and changing my perception on so many things.