I do not travel well, especially by car. I like to get where I need to be fast and with out much inconvenience. My husband marvels at how far I can drive with out taking a break and has learned over the years to avoid large amounts of coffee before any trip with me because I am almost guaranteed NOT to stop.
When I was a kid we would do lots of summer road trips to what I believed were far off places. Places like Traverse City, Evanston and Morton’s Gap, Kentucky. One of my favorite things to do on those trips, long before Garmin had been invented, was to track our route on a AAA Trip-Tic. I loved the Trip-Tic. I knew that every time I had to turn the page we were a little bit closer to getting there. I always insisted on holding the trip map and on being the page turner (thus proving that I have always been an impatient little control freak.) Even now I prefer a road atlas to any GPS system because holding the trip map equals control for me, it’s about being able to chart my own course and measure my progress.
With that in mind a few verses stood out to me from today’s readings.
Matthew 2:1 After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and Matthew 2:9,10 9 After they had heard the King, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star they were overjoyed.
In these verses we have a group of guys, most likely astrologers, who dropped all they were doing to follow what amounts to a hunch that the new, glaringly bright star in the West signified the birth of a king. Can you imagine leaving everything you own to go on a two year journey through the desert in the hope that what you are seeing is the sign you have been waiting for?
These men were experts on the night sky and probably had more maps and charts than I could count. My bet is that had they needed to get to Jerusalem they could have found it with the materials they already had on hand. After all charting the sky was part of their life’s work. Yet God gave them a sign that the time had come to start their journey. And even though they had enough maps to manage their own trip God continued to provide a star to chart their course, track their progress, and mark their destination. Despite two years of changing, seasonal constellations, the star that God provided to shine light on them remained consistent and steady in the evening sky guiding them and they watched it overjoyed.
I have a lot of charts and maps in my life. There are a lot of things on hand, that I have created for my own use as I try control my journey and chart my own course. Yet God continues to offer a consistent sign to remind me that the trip has already been planned for me, all I need to do is put down my own maps and follow it. Every night, through out all the seasons and changes of my life, my light steadily shines for me and when I see it I am overjoyed.