Last Thursday, in
LESSONS ON REBIRTH FROM THE CHRISTMAS STORY, Part 2, we continued our
look at what the Christmas story can teach us about the rebirth process.
We saw that just like the angel choir that appeared to the Shepherds in
the fields heralded the birth of our Lord and Savior, there is GREAT
REJOICING in Heaven when one of God's wayward children accepts Jesus'
gift of Salvation and is reborn in Him!
Today's story takes us to the Christmas Star.
You know, there is little I like more when I'm out camping than to look up at the night's sky. Having lived in or near a city most of my life, only the brightest stars are visible from my front porch. But when I am camping in some remote area, miles from any natural light, the entire Heavens are ablaze with the tiny pinpoints of billions upon billions of beautiful stars.
Sometimes when I gaze up into a sky full of stars, I notice that one seems to beckon me. One draws and holds my attention above all others …
I don't know why this happens in our day and age, but on that mysterious night, some 2000 years ago, there was this one particular star that caught and held the attention of certain watchers …
"Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, 'Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.'" (Matt 2:1-2 NKJV)
I don't know about you, but I've never seen a Crèche without a star. Every picture we see of the Christmas story includes a star over the stable. Every re-enactment of this beautiful story depicts a star. And so often when we hear the story of the wisemen, we hear that they followed the star to Bethlehem.
The Bible, however, doesn't actually tell us the Wisemen "followed" the star all the way from the East. In fact, had they been "following" the star all the way, they would have had no need to stop in Jerusalem to ask King Herod this famous question. No, the Bible only tells us two things: They had "seen His star in the East", and a few verses later, "When they heard the king, they departed; and behold, the star which they had seen in the East went before them." (Matt 2:9-11 NKJV)
That star was used to catch the attention of anyone watching the night sky, and it succeeded in its mission. The Wisemen of the East saw the star, and it so caught their attention that they left their homes in the East to travel to Israel, just to find out what that star was all about.
Interestingly however, neither the king of Israel nor his learned staff of priests and scribes saw the star.
Was this because it was tiny and illusive?
I doubt it. After all, it caught and held the attention of the Wisemen! Besides, the star was foretold by the prophet Balaam: "A Star shall come out of Jacob; A Scepter shall rise out of Israel, And batter the brow of Moab, And destroy all the sons of tumult." (Num. 24:17)
Okay, then if it was a bright star, and if there was a star prophecy about the Birth of Jesus, then why didn't Herod and his priests and scribes see it?
Just this: They weren't looking for it!
So what can this teach us about the rebirth process?
So often we hear Christians say, "God isn't listening to me." Or "I cry out to God but He isn't there!" But this is totally contrary to what the Scriptures teach us:
"And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found by you, says the Lord, and I will bring you back from your captivity" (Jer 29:13-14 NKJV)
"If you seek Him, He will be found by you; but if you forsake Him, He will cast you off forever." (1 Chron 28:9-10 NKJV)
Friends, God is a God of relationship. He came to this Earth to die for our sins so that the relationship with God, broken at Eden, could be re-established. When we are born again, He is not far from us! He is there, waiting to begin that relationship with us so that the new life process can begin in our hearts!
But He doesn't force Himself upon us. Just like that star was only seen by those who were looking, God promises that "if you seek Him, He will be found by you"! And when we do "search for [Him] with all your heart", not only will He be found by us, but He will "bring you back from your captivity"! He will SET US FREE! He will awaken in us the new life He has for us!
Friends, this Christmas, when you see a representation of this star of Christmas, let it be a reminder to us that we are truly born again, and that God is waiting to catch our attention, to begin a relationship with us, to awaken in us the new life He has for us!
But what about those Wisemen who came bearing gifts? Is there a rebirth lesson in this part of the Christmas story as well?
That, my friends, is the subject of next Thursday's devotional: LESSONS ON REBIRTH FROM THE CHRISTMAS STORY, Part 4, The Wisemen.
Please join us then!
In His love,
Lyn Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two teens, Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, www.scripturalnuggets.org, with Answers2Prayer Ministries, www.Answers2Prayer.org.