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Follow the Christmas star

Bringing a spiritual perspective to daily life

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Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Juda in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.

WE MAY NOT SEE IT when we look up into the sky - the star that guided the wise men to the manger of Jesus. But what about the light of love that's been known to shine in human hearts during the Christmas season? Couldn't this light be the Christmas star?

Perhaps you can recall special times when you've been particularly aware of this light of love. Here's an example of my own.

While our children were growing up, each Christmas season we would gather together and watch "Amahl and the Night Visitors," an opera written especially for television by Gian Carlo Menotti. The story opens with Amahl, a poor, crippled shepherd boy, gazing with wonder at the Christmas star.

Later that night, Amahl and his widowed mother are surprised when three kings stop at their humble house for rest. The kings have been following the star to find the Christ child, for whom they each have rich treasures.

Amahl's mother, feeling desperate for her own child's welfare, reaches out in the night to take a handful of the kings' gold. When she is caught, one of the kings tells her: "Oh, woman, you may keep the gold. The Child we seek doesn't need our gold. He will build his kingdom on love alone."

"Oh, no, wait - take your gold!" she responds. "I've waited all my life for such a king. And if I weren't so poor, I would send a gift of my own to such a child."

Amahl then offers his crutch as a gift for the child - and finds himself walking, no longer lame. And with his mother's grateful blessing, Amahl leaves with the kings to follow the star.

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