Follow the Star of Christmas – Christmas Eve

Matthew 2:1-11

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi[a] from the east came to Jerusalem 2 and asked, ‘Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.’

3 When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born. 5 ‘In Bethlehem in Judea,’ they replied, ‘for this is what the prophet has written:

6 ‘“But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,

    are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;

for out of you will come a ruler

    who will shepherd my people Israel.”[b]’

7 Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. 8 He sent them to Bethlehem and said, ‘Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.’

9 After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 11 On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshipped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.

I still remember a feeling of smallness but gladness and awe when aged 7 as I looked up at the 360 degree blanket of stars with a bright moon shining down on us kids playing outside around midnight after midnight mass 500km NE of Perth on the edge fenced and cultivated land that quickly gives way to a land of no fences and wondering station sheep and cattle begins.

On a hot summer’s night, those stars in those open plains, and indeed in so many other places across our country truly do seem like they are a blanket that you could reach up and touch, so close and so bright they are. Christmas and summer stars go together for me since those early days.

I somehow resonate with those Easterners making that long mostly open country desert journey by the stars and bearing witness to that bright and right star over the shed that housed the Star of Christmas – Jesus, Emmanuel, God with us. Clear night. Desert sands, dark sky, blanket of stars….. That is Christmas for me.

That memory and this vision of how God came to us with stars involved has a sense of peace and calm for me. I suspect Christmas for many of us is that kind of feeling – the feeling we want it to be as we enjoy family and food and a break and all the rest of the sweetness that Christmas has become.

But Matthew never wants us to forget that the coming of the Star of Christmas was surrounded by darkness. Not by that dark sky in between the stars but the darkness of this human heart we share.

The Star of Christmas did his shining and the dark huma heart did its attempted to put that light out.

The main dampener on the lovely story is that mad-man Herod. One of many brutal people who have built power by brute force and have been determined to keep that hard-won power over others by the same means. He tries his hand at extinguishing this light before it shines too bright. Luckily for the world, his ruse with the star-gazers did not work!

The human heart knows when it is threatened. Herod intuitively knows that this Star of Christmas if left unchecked will outshine him. And this is such an afront to a self-made person! We know the Star of the Show will overthrow the anyone who believes themselves to be that in their own life.

So we see that for us who battle with wanting to be the star of our own show called life, this Star of Christmas is not so comfortable at times. He might make us quite uncomfortable upon arrival. He is a rival star of our life’s show.

But, we have help to lose ourselves in his covering of light tonight. We have three people showing us how to let his light in.

John the Witness, or John the Baptist, gives us the heads up on the best way to deal with this dangerous star of the world’s future coming to us again. John basically says, “Let him shine”. Let him shine even at cost to yourself not shining so much.

John did this very thing even to the point of being snuffed out by Herod’s stupidity in the end. John endured the darkness by the light of the Star of Christmas. He was sure that it was worth it all, so he have his all. That is the call of Christmas.

Mary helps us too. Mary allows this star to shine, even in her fear about what this would all mean. She knows our rightful place when the Messengers announcing the Star of Christmas appears

38 ‘I am the Lord’s servant,’ Mary answered. ‘May your word to me be fulfilled.’ 

May you shine, Jesus, whatever is means for me. You need to shine way more than me. When you shine people are changed.

One more helper – the old man Simeon.

He is not unlike those Eastern star-gazers. He has been watching and noticing and waiting all his life. Everyone seemed to know this about Simeon. Simeon has been waiting on God for the promised change; the promised transformation of the world in this Messiah.

When the new parents of the New Star bring him in the old man is as relieved and overcome with joy as those camel riding Easterners must have been to finally get to the shed that night after 1000+ km’s between those humps!

Lord, as you have promised,
you can now take me home. I am at peace.
For my eyes have seen your promise of life delivered,
a gift you have prepared in the sight of all nations:
he is the Star; the Light for both Gentile and Jew; for everyone’

He is the Star of the Church’s story.                                    (Luke 2:29-32)

Friends, I don’t want other city lights and the bright lights of industry and commerce to outshine the star of Christmas. Faith calls me to let him shine more than me and let his light push back any darkness within me or around us so his light of hope and truth and peace can cast its transforming influence over more people.

This Jesus, this Star of Christmas, is still a light like no other – a transforming light, a human and yet divine light that can transform this heart from dull darkness overcome with self, and despair and worry and weakness and wrongs to clear and present light of hope, meaning, purpose, light and love for my fellow humans.

It is on us now. Following our three helpers our way is clear this Christmas.

Let him shine.

Let him act.

Let him have your live and make it shine.

Amen.

LATEST BULLETIN

WORSHIP SMALL

PASTOR’S SERMONS

WORSHIP TIMES

Sunday 8:45am
10:30am
Wednesday
(1st + 3rd of Month)
10:00am