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Scientists tell us that there are billions upon billions of stars in the sky. I don’t know about that, I have never stopped to count them, but I do look up in wonder at God’s creation from time to time.
And among all those billions, the Bible tells us of one particular star that announced the birth of Christ. God used that one star to lead the wise men on a journey to find the King of Kings. They probably expected to find him in a great palace somewhere, but instead it led them to a little country town.
And even before the wise men showed up there were the shepherds. Just working guys, pulling the night shift out in the fields. Suddenly, “an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.’” (Luke 2:9–11 NIV).
And think about where Jesus was born, not in that palace, but in a stable. And shepherds? Let’s face it, they probably needed baths. And even a star is really pretty common, there are billions of them after all.
You know that star didn’t have a choice, God said “Shine!” and it did. The stable didn’t have a choice, it was there and God said, “Use it!” But the shepherds, they had a choice. The angel had appeared and proclaimed the good news, but they could have ignored it. Instead they said, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about” (Luke 2:15 NIV).
On Christmas day and really every day, we have a choice. We can trust God and follow him, or we can ignore him. The most wonderful miracle of Christmas is not the star or the stable, it is not even the angel, it is that God made a choice to reach out to us in Christ. Jesus came so that we could know God in a way we never did before. He came to be our Savior.
One star shone to shine the way to Jesus. An angel proclaimed his birth. Shepherds and wise men sought him out to worship him. This Christmas every star or angel on every Christmas tree is pointing us to Jesus. May we be as willing to follow as the wise men and as ready to worship as those shepherds.