A Magi Faith
There are only two ways to live your life. One as if nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.
On an auspicious night over two millennium ago, a mysterious star appeared in a Van Gogh night sky catching a magi’s attention. Was it a shooting orb, a supernova, or did the planets of Saturn and Jupiter serendipitously cross paths, creating a cosmic event? Regardless, three of the wise among us decided to follow the sign and embark on a journey that would forever change the way they looked upon the world and their place in it.
The Christmas story is really our story, humanity’s story— of taking a chance on God and experiencing life as the miracle that it is. I wish I could claim an angel visitation like Mary, or have God appear in my dreams like Joseph or have the heaven’s open and angels serenade me with Alleluia’s like the shepherds. Not yet!!! But I do know a little something about setting out on a spiritual adventure to find God and find myself like the Christmas Magi.
As the story goes, these seekers from the Orient traveled a great distance (some estimate 800-900 miles) to find God. The Christmas journey must have taken months. Gaspar, Melchior and Balthazar espoused some real spiritual “chutzpah” to put one foot in front of the other not knowing for certain where the path would lead them, what dangers and setbacks they would encounter along the way, and what they would find at their destination. And yet, we know how their story ends. They experienced the true meaning of Christmas: miracles and resurrections, love and mercy, angels circling in protection and stars lightning new paths. Their lives were so transformed by the journey that they had to take another way home.
The magi path of faith is a timeless and universal spiritual journey open to all. There is no GPS or WAZE app to map a quick and straight path, keep us from losing our way, or help us to avoid life’s roadblocks, setbacks and season’s where our faith comes to a scary stand-still. Just like the wise men of old, some of the miles will be traveled in the darkness of disappointment, grief and fear. There will be many released prayers. Some not answered as we would wish. In secret, we will question the benevolence of God’s plan. Herod will manifest in many forms to challenge our will. The allure of the secular will shift our focus away from matters of the spirit. Technology will rob us of precious time and dull our imagination and a pervading anxiousness will temper our courage. But then there will be the surprises of grace, the everyday miracles that prove Divine Providence is at work and a deep and abiding soul-certainty that we are not alone. God is with us every step of the way.
Christmas is a life-long journey. Mary and Joseph, Elizabeth and Zachariah, the shepherds and the Magi each took into themselves the Angel Gabriel’s words, “Nothing is impossible with God,” and then set out on their own spiritual path.
It’s a risk for sure to believe in miracles, but what’s the other option?
Merry Christmas! I’m signing off until 2017!