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January 2013

Follow the Star

Sunday of the Epiphany

Adapted from “Barefoot in the Snow”

Scripture Reference: Matt. 2:1-2; 9-12 

How many of you have seen a searchlight shining in the night sky? (Let children respond.) Those lights are meant to lead people to a certain spot in the city. If a store is having a grand opening or if there is a big sale on cars at a dealership, a searchlight might be set up in the parking lot. The bright light can be seen all over town. People can easily follow the path of the light to its source. The light leads them right to the parking lot where the light is set up. The store owner hopes that after the people have followed the light to the store, they’ll do some shopping and buy something. Usually when I see a searchlight in the sky, I don’t follow it because I know it’s there to advertise something that I probably don’t need anyway. The light is fun to watch, but it doesn’t get me to follow it or to change my direction.

This Sunday marks the last day of the Christmas season. There are really twelve days of Christmas, and today is the twelfth day. Today, on Epiphany, we remember the wise men who went to find Jesus. The wise men also followed a light in the sky. What kind of light did the wise men follow? (Listen to the children’s answers.) They followed a bright star, didn’t they? That star led them to something so much more than a just a car sale. That star led them to the new king of heaven and earth; the star led them to Jesus, born in Bethlehem.

The Christmas star was sent by God to announce the birth of a Savior. It shone brightly in the sky to lead people to the manger. The wise men must have admired that new brilliant star in the sky, but if they had never made a move to follow it and search for the king, they never would have found Jesus.

Christmas is a beautiful time of the year. Decorations go up all over. Christmas trees are lit with thousands of lights. Beautiful nativity scenes are displayed in churches and homes. For some people, the brightness and beauty of Christmas is only something to admire and enjoy from a distance. But God doesn’t want us to just admire Christmas, he wants us to follow the star to the manger. He wants us to kneel down next to the baby Jesus and offer our whole selves, heart and soul, to the King of heaven and earth.

We can’t travel back in time two thousand years to kneel at that manger, but we can kneel down on this day, on Epiphany, and invite Jesus to come into our hearts to stay. We can open our hearts to him for the first time or invite Jesus to fill us again with his spirit of love.

Prayer: Dear Jesus, may we always follow the star to the manger. Thank you for coming to earth as a little baby. We welcome you into our hearts this Epiphany and throughout the coming year.

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