This story of three Wise Men tells us we need to be aware and awake to our surroundings, both to the obvious and to the new and not so obvious. As we travel the road of life, and seek a new direction and begin to travel that road to the new, we need to also be aware of the pitfalls and to be awake to those who are not sincere.
Even after we come to our goal – which may be very tentative – we need to be ready to change course, go a different way, take a different path. This involves a readiness to maybe never reaching our goal.
You have probably heard the story of the 4th Wise Man. I tell my own version of this story. He started out with the other three, but along the way stopped to help a poor beggar get his life together. He then proceeded on his way but stopped to help a family find shelter. He searched for a house for them, negotiated the rent or price of the house and helped the family get the funds to be able to move in. Then he started out again, but met some children who were lost. So he took them with him and finally found their parents who had been frantically looking for their children.
He started out again and met a widow and her children who had been evicted because they could not pay the rent that was due. So he took the time to find a new house for this family, got the money together to pay for it. Negotiated that the family could live there permanently. Then went on his way.
By the time he reached Jerusalem, 33 years later, it was Good Friday. Following the crowd he came upon Jesus on the cross and heard Jesus tell the Good Thief, “Today, you will be with me in paradise.” It was then he recognized this crucified Jesus as the newborn king he had been searching for all his life. Jesus looked at him and loved him. What else did he need? He might even have helped bury Jesus. I am sure that he then joined this group of followers of Jesus and helped spread the message of love, justice, and peace.
So the same with us. We start out going the way we plan. It may be to be the best in sports, to become a CEO of a large business, to author a best seller of fiction or poetry, or to do paintings that touch people’s hearts and minds.
But how open are we to a new call, a different way, to seeing a new star at its rising, to help people along the way – for a moment, for a year, for ten years? Maybe God is calling us to feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked, house the homeless, visit and care for the sick, visit those in prison, bury the dead, while we continue to go toward our goal. Or maybe we are called to change our goal, go by a different way. If we listen closely, are aware and awake, we could hear God’s call to stay the course, or go a different way.
This New Year let us be aware and awake to see how God is calling us now. It may be to stick to what and how we do God’s work, or it may be a different path to which we are called.
Let us open ourselves, be aware and awake to God speaking to us by a new star rising, speaking in our dreams, through other people or through creation. Let us hear God’s call whether it be to stay the course, or go by a different way.