The Star of Hope
Dependence on stars for direction is not unusual in the ancient world. Thousands of centuries ago, voyagers used the position of the stars as a navigation tool to arrive at their destination. History indicates that in about 3000 BCE, the Polynesians observed the position of stars as they sailed from one Island to the other across the vast uncertain sea root of the Pacific Ocean, where there were no other signs to mark their global position and the direction towards their destination. Star was a sign of hope that would help them reach their destination and save their lives from perishing in the Ocean.
While the first evangelist, Matthew, depicted the very first advent story, he included the dramatic visit of the wise men from the East following the star that stood above the manger where baby Jesus was laid. According to the story, the wise men’s resolution to visit the palace of King Herod, disregarding the direction of the star following their own imagination, proved to be a fatal mistake that led to the blood bath in the towns and villages of Palestine, which claimed the lives of numerous innocent children. Jesus, the Prince of Peace, entered history when darkness was hovering over nations because of political strife caused by power-hungry rulers and religious leaders who manipulated common people by exploiting them in the name of spiritual tradition and practices.
The commemoration of the Lord’s advent this year encounters a similar life situation to the time of Jesus at the geographical location where it was initially staged more than two thousand years ago. Every time the birth of Christ is celebrated, it makes a solemn decree to the world that the king
of kings and Lord of Lords appeared on the face of the earth as a fragile, helpless babe, humble and vulnerable. Yet, He conquered people’s hearts not through bloodshed, dominance and violence but
through unconditional love. Those who notice the glimmering of that star of hope are set on a journey
to a glorious destiny. Still, many disillusioned by their own imagination and intellect continue to land in palaces of Herods as the wise men from the East did, and invite disaster and violence.
This Christmas, when we see the streets, trees and buildings decorated with colour lights and twinkling stars, it may direct our attention to the true star of Hope who emanates the ray of hope into a broken and dark world.
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