December 26, 2015

Following the Star by Marnie Pohlmann

Festive lights sparkle and reflect diamonds in the snow. The colours of Christmas displayed on the street make our neighbourhood welcoming and cheerful. Some nights, the northern lights join in the celebration, dancing across the night sky. My gaze lifts to where stars travel across black velvet, and I consider the Magi of the Christmas story.

Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.” (Matthew 2:1-2 NKJV)

The wise men had been studying the skies, and saw a bright star. They searched through literature to determine what they could know of the star, and found a prophesy declaring a King would be born - not just any king, but a king who would change the world. So they began a journey to find and honour this baby king.

Tradition and Biblical scholars indicate the Magi were wealthy, educated men of high standing in their community yet still, they undertook a spiritual pilgrimage, leaving the comfort of home, position, and power. They followed a star, not knowing where it would lead, but knowing it was important to do something with the information they found.

Have you made time this Christmas to travel about and view the lights of the season, both man-made and God-provided? While we can travel around town in the daytime and may notice the decorations, it is really only in the dark of night that we witness the wondrous displays in all their glory. This year, as people seem to lament the darkness of the world, perhaps we see the lights especially bright, and we remember the hope of Christ shines in darkness.

 … and behold, the star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came and stood over where the young Child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy. And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. (Matthew 2:9-11 NKJV)

After the magi found and worshiped Jesus, these wise men returned to their homes. Was their intellectual curiosity satisfied? Were they soulfully changed by their encounter with Immanuel? Did they continue to walk in the light of God, sharing their experiences – the wonder, threats, dreams, struggles, and the discovery of the Christ-child? Scripture does not elaborate on the effect this spiritual journey had on the Magi, but perhaps we ourselves will return home after seeing the light of Christmas, ready to share our meeting with Immanuel.

God’s light does clearly shine in the darkness of today, inviting us on a spiritual journey and drawing us to Him. As we consider the Magi, we must wonder – are we willing to travel in God’s path, not knowing where He is leading? Are we willing to sacrifice comfort and riches to seek Truth, following the star, to worship Christ? The journey may be difficult and could be dangerous, but we must do something with what we know, study, and reflect on.

Better to illuminate than merely to shine, 
to deliver to others contemplated truths than merely to contemplate. 
- Thomas Aquinas

Photo Credits:
Northern Lights: CCO license -
Magi: Marnie Pohlmann
Christmas Star: CCO license - 


  1. What did happen to the Magi? I've never considered that, Marnie. Were they changed? Or did they go back to regular life? I wonder.... (Beautifully written, too, my friend.)

  2. Marnie, Have you seen the documentary by Rick Larson, about the Star of Bethlehem? I watched it and found it fascinating, based on his astronomy research journey. I had a friend that owned the video, but this is the online link: I think you would like it.

    1. Thanks, Jocelyn, I remember hearing about it but haven't watched it yet so I'll check that out.

  3. The Bible does say that the magi returned home by a different way which I think is a beautiful analogy for anyone who has truly met and understood Jesus Christ as Saviour. I've too wondered how they were changed personally by meeting Jesus. Well done Marnie. Thanks.

  4. Thanks for this lovely reflection, Marnie. You have given us points to ponder and research to do. Let's pray that we can all bring gifts to Jesus and that we may illuminate rather than just shine. Thanks for this quote by Thomas Aquinas.

    Did you take this photo of the northern lights? I too am fascinated by the northern lights. The colours seem so much brighter as you go north. When I lived and taught school in Fort McMurray, we would go for walks when the aurora borealis presented a show with a backdrop of "black velvet." Thanks for that image, Marnie.

  5. Marnie, I love how you question what happens next in these events. Are you a fiction writer? Would you consider writing your version of what happened with the magi? God bless you, sister!


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