Good morning! And Happy New Year to you!
How many of you have ever looked up at the sky at night and seen stars? They are beautiful, aren't they? Sometimes there are lots and lots of stars, and other times not so many. It depends on how cloudy the sky is and how many lights are on the ground where you are. People in cities don't see as many stars as folks out in the country. But on a clear night, almost everyone can see the North Star. In fact, the North Star has been used by sailors to help them steer their ships in the direction they want to go.
There are scientists, called astronomers, who study the stars. There have been astronomers for thousands of years--people have always been interested in studying the stars. At the time Jesus was born, there were astronomers living far away from Bethlehem, studying the stars. One night they were looking up at the night sky when they noticed something surprising--something they had never seen before. It was a new star! How amazing!
These ancient astronomers believed that new stars didn't just show up for no reason. They believed the new star they saw meant something important was happening in the world, so they decided to follow it. They packed for a long journey across the desert sands. They traveled for days and weeks and months, using the star to guide them. Finally, the star stopped over a house in Bethlehem. The men who had traveled so far for so long were filled with joy. When they entered the house, they found Jesus with Mary, his mother The astronomers knew the baby was someone special--someone to be honored. And so they immediately knelt down and worshipped him. Then they opened the treasure chests they had packed and offered Jesus precious gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. Sometimes the astronomers who followed the star to Jesus are called Wise Men. Some may think they were wise because they were scientists who understood about the stars. I think they were wise because they knew to worship Jesus the minute they saw him. They understood that he was no ordinary child, but was someone special sent by God to lead the people, like a king.
Let's pray together.
Dear God, thank-you for sending the star to lead the wise astronomers to Jesus. Thank-you for sending Jesus into the world to lead all the people. Help us to be wise and follow Jesus where He leads. Amen.