Believe it or not, the Bible tells us that God commissioned a particular star to serve as a kind of travel guide for a group of men from the East who had developed an interest in looking for the Christmas child. Not only did that star lead these Easterners to Jerusalem and then to Bethlehem, but Matthew 2:9 tells us that the star led the wise men to the exact location of Joseph, Mary, and Jesus. And when they finally located Him, the Scriptures say they fell to their knees and worshiped Him and gave Him costly gifts.
The text of Scripture states clearly that the wise men rejoiced over the fact that God had provided them with a remarkably accurate travel guide. Deep down they knew they never would have found Christ without the star. The Christmas star was God’s gift of direction — God’s travel guide for seekers.
Look at the star this Christmas. Look at it a little differently. Look at it as a symbol of the fact that God has always provided travel guides to earnest spiritual seekers. Throughout history, God has seen to it that those who diligently seek after Christ will find Him.
Many of us are dedicated Christians. All of us who are Christians can look back to a time when we were just getting interested in spiritual realities. Remember how confused we all were? Remember how lost we felt? Remember how overwhelming it all seemed to us as we were trying to sort things out? Remember what God did?
God provided a travel guide for each of us — someone to lead us to Christ. It might have been a mom or dad. It might have been a guy at work, a neighbor, a close friend, a teacher, or a pastor. But all of us who are Christians can retrace our spiritual journeys and say, “Without that person, that pastor, that teacher, that friend, I doubt I would ever have found Christ.” God sent someone to cross our path. He sent someone whose light was bright. He sent someone whose love was real. He sent someone whose faith was so compelling that we found ourselves trusting that earthbound travel guide to lead us to Christ.
What would some of our lives be like — who would we be, what would we be doing? — had it not been for an earthbound star that God used as a travel guide in our lives? Isn’t Christmas an appropriate time to thank God for the gift of travel guides? Why not take a minute and assign a name to the star or stars that God has provided for you, to lead you from your confusion to Christ.
But perhaps you feel a whole lot more like someone who is still seeking than someone who’s found. If the truth were known, a good number of us are wandering in spiritual circles and not making much headway. We’re as spiritually detached this year as we were last year. We’re looking into the New Year, and it doesn’t really look like much is going to change.
For those of you who are still seekers, let me give you a word of encouragement. Chances are, God has already put a travel guide in your life somewhere. Chances are, if you were to scan the horizons of your relationships, you probably already know someone whose spiritual light burns pretty bright, whose love is real, whose faith has caught your attention more than once. That person may very well be God’s gift to you — sort of like a Christmas star — God’s travel guide.