There, ahead of them, went the star that they had seen at its rising, until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy. On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage. Then, opening their treasure chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. Matthew 2:9-11
I’m considering the New Year through the holiday lens. As I write these words, tonight will be one of the longest nights of the year, and snow swirls outside my window. This calendar year draws to a close, and I wonder what the fresh, unwritten upon pages of then next 12 months will bring.
There are a few characters from our Christmas story who help bring the New Year into perspective for me: the Magi.
It seems today’s believers are on a journey with the Magi. We come bearing gifts, setting out in haste, seeking the light. We have gifts for others, and the gifts we have been given by God in our talents and desires. Those wise men of long ago were most likely burdened in their travels by supplies, tents, necessities and luxuries for the road. But perhaps the greatest burden was understanding why they began this extraordinary search in the first place. With only their studies, and the light in the sky to guide them, they traveled in a kind of blind faith—confident that they must seek, but unsure of what their seeking will bring.
Perhaps our IVC journey mirrors that of the Magi: we travel in faith, to places unknown, following the light. We carry our burdens, our gifts, all with the hope that our efforts will prove worthwhile. At times we wonder why we even set out on this journey, but each step forward seems to make sense. So we continue.
As we begin this New Year and sometimes waver under the burdens of our busy lives, let’s remember those desert wanderers centuries ago, who left all that they knew to seek the heavenly child. May we travel on with such purity of heart.
Maria Rodgers O’Rourke, the IVC – former St. Louis regional director, has served in church ministry for over 20 years on the national, regional and local levels in communications, adult spirituality, family life and retreat direction.