My husband would be the first to tell you I have the directional sense of a squirrel.
There is an advantage to this handicap: if my intuition tells me to travel in one direction, I can safely assume that I need to be heading the opposite way.
This reality becomes that much more funny when considered in light of my current vocation: as a traveling chaplain who spends much of her time in the car driving to various corporate clients, I am often expected to have all the answers- the existential “roadmap” of sorts- when the truth is, just getting to my destination on any given day can itself be a challenge.
Needless to say, I’ve never had trouble asking for directions.
Today I’ve been thinking again about those “wise men” who journeyed to see the baby Jesus. Their only GPS system was a star- that, and the restless pursuit of their own hearts to seek out what lay waiting to be discovered.
…Maybe a bit like the woman I met today in my favorite coffee shop haunt. She told me she is ordained in the “New Thought” movement. (I had to wickipedia it: “New Thought, sometimes known as ‘Higher Thought,’ promotes the idea that infinite intelligence, or God, is everywhere.”)
I mentioned that I had been ordained in the Presbyterian church. Her look spelled boring- and I must admit that “New Thought” just sounds more chichi and exotic.
We moved on to more interesting stuff.
But, something about that star over the baby Jesus was different than all the others, as more than just a “new thought.” Something about it was more than just a self-generated spirituality of “mind over matter”- the idea that with a little bit of astrological-or-otherwise science under our belts, we might chart out our own “promised lands” in the way of health and happiness.
I have to believe that what made these men more than “hopeless wanderers” (to borrow the name of the song by my favorite band, Mumford & Sons) was the simple hunch that God chooses to break into creation with a revelation that can save us.
Sometimes I wonder if we, so many of us, have simply stopped believing that God does this sort of thing. When we’re far too busy to notice the one bright star that so serenely hovers over the Christ child, I wonder if it is because we really don’t believe. “Faith seeks understanding,” afterall, as Anselm put it.
Yet it does still hover there- this “star”that gestures to the baby Jesus, beckoning us to Him. In the best thoughts and purest intentions of our mind’s eye. In the sweetest, gentlest aspirations of our own hearts to love and to forgive. In the gaze of the homeless man pleading for loose change. A star points to that forgotten place where “righteousness is at home” (2 Peter 3:13).
In that place where all is at rest, and calm and bright, God Himself waits to be discovered.
For your musical pleasure, here is “Hopeless Wanderer” by Mumford & Sons; an earlier version of this post mistakenly titled it “Restless Wanderer,” my apologies: