In search of a star
the spice box
by Sharon Robertson, Lt. Colonel –
In the cold, crystal-clear darkness of the winter sky the stars shimmer and blaze with a beauty greater than that of the most perfect diamonds. Their voiceless call evokes the response of the inner person to—something—something remote, tantalizing, undefined, some inexplicable, intangible, unrecognized desire deep within the human soul. It is at that moment that we understand the psalmist murmuring in awe, “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament showeth his handiwork” (Psalm 19:1). Not even the passionless expositions of the astronomer reminding us of the science behind what we see can ever silence that soundless summons, or still that elemental, involuntary response.
It is not difficult to understand, then, why God himself chose to use a star to alert the scholars from the East to the coming of his Son. The star was there in the heavens for all to see—but only those who gave it their full attention saw it for what it was, a sign from God heralding the birth of a very special King. They responded, and through the leading of the star they were brought to the Savior. It wasn’t an easy trip—for a time they relied on their own learning to lead them to the newly-born king, and, except for God’s intervention, their mistake could easily have resulted in the thwarting of God’s redemptive plan. The sage scholars hadn’t reckoned on the devious connivings of a malevolent king, and would have innocently responded to his request to let him know where they found the baby. But God did intervene. The star continued to lead them; the child was saved; the wise men met their Lord.
“The heavens declare the glory of God…the firmament showeth his handiwork,” and God chose to use a star to lead men to Christ.
I wonder, is it a coincidence that the Apostle Paul compared the children of God to stars when he wrote: “Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of
life…” ? (Philippians 2:14-16, NIV)
Not likely! Rather Paul was pointing out a simple truth that has remained clear through the ages: God has chosen his people to be the means—stars, if you will—that he uses to point others to Christ.
For the Christian, especially for the timid, silent Christian, there should be a great deal of reassurance in this, for it becomes clear that the individual becomes the vehicle of witnessing, rather than being solely responsible for being a witness. It is God who placed the star where it could lead the wise men to Christ; it is God who places the Christian in a position to point others to Christ. As God makes the stars to shine, it is God who, through his indwelling Spirit, speaks to others of his saving power, and points them to Jesus.
The stars do not ask to shine; it is their very nature; when they cease to shine, they cease to be stars. The Christian does not need to ask to be made a witness—by definition he or she is a witness to the salvation found in Christ. The question that remains, then, is “What kind of witness will I be?” No star can choose how bright it will appear from earth—but we as Christians can and do choose how clearly God will be seen in our own lives.
God has chosen you and me to shine as stars, pointing the way to Jesus Christ. There is no greater offering, no greater gift that we could give to God this Christmas than the gifts of surrender and obedience, yielding ourselves to his desire to make us shine as stars in a darkened world, pointing others to him.