Under the Light
Most of us are familiar with the Christmas story. To be clear, I’m talking about the one with the wisemen, the shepherds, and the manger. Not the one with the Red Rider BB gun, though that is a classic. Anyway, here’s a bit of a new twist on that old Christmas story that I want to offer. It’s about the Star of Bethlehem.
“The wisemen set out, and there, ahead of them, went the star 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.” Matthew 2: 9-10
As the story goes, The Christ child, the Savior of the world, was found underneath an amazingly bright, shining star. Some speculate that the star was a planet, or a proper alignment of planets that created a brilliant night-time light display. Some think the star was a true Divine guiding light, and others think it’s just a cute story written to explain the wonder, or frame in wonder, around the birth of the Savior.
Was there a bright light that served as a guide for the wise men to find the Christ? I don’t know and I’m not really sure it matters. You see, I’m not sure the story is as important as the message is. I don’t know that the Christmas story is true, as it was written two thousand years ago, regarding the Star of Bethlehem. But I do think the message of the story is true today, but not in a way we may be familiar with, or even comfortable with.
If it’s alright with you, I’d like to try to unpack the message of the Star of Bethlehem.
The wisemen, the seekers, were following a light. When they found the light, they discovered that underneath it was the Christ, the Savior, and they were filled with joy. The Christ was under the light. They were really drawn by the Christ. The light was simply the expression of the Christ.
Ok, this next part may get uncomfortable, and I understand, but be curious and see where it leads...
In the opening of the book of John, in referring to the Word, the Son, the Christ, John says, “All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all the people.”
John is saying that all things and everyone come from the Christ. He is saying the life in us, the light of us, comes from the Christ. The Christ is underneath the light that is us. This is also paralleling how in Genesis God says, “Let us make man in our own image.” Image, here, could easily be replaced with likeness, or light.
In the fifth chapter of Matthew, Jesus is quoted as saying, “You are the light of the world. ...Let your light shine before men...” In a sense, Jesus is saying, “You are the stars of Bethlehem. ...Let your light shine for others to follow.” Don’t miss that Jesus was telling them they were the lights of the world. He had to tell them because they didn’t know. But really, he is telling them something even more deeper than that.
But Jesus had to tell people many things. He spent at least three years telling everyone that the Kingdom of Heaven was within them, that it wasn’t a place out there, but it was nearer than near because it was “within you.” Over and over, he told them where to look - inside themselves.
Jesus was trying to get people to become wisemen, to become seekers. “You are the light. Look inside. Find what you really want most inside.” Why? Jesus wanted everyone to be overwhelmed with joy, to have an abundant life.
Remember, when the seekers followed the light, they found the Christ underneath and they became overwhelmed with joy. If you were a seeker, and you realized you were a light, if you found that Christ was underneath the light, if you discovered that Heaven was within you, wouldn’t you be overwhelmed with joy, too?
Well, that’s Christmas: Christ in you. The source of your light, your life, is in you. The Kingdom of Heaven is within you. You are the light. And underneath you, inside of you, is the Christ. It’s there because you are - “all things came into being through Him.” Like the Star of Bethlehem, you are an expression of the Christ, simply because you are. And that is the message, or the the not so new, but maybe new to you, Christmas story. And it’s beautiful.
Be a seeker. Look inside. Ponder what’s underneath your light. Yes, you are the light of the world. Be overwhelmed with joy.