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In the Bible the sky is sometimes God’s billboard: Abraham looked up and saw the stars. Noah looked up and saw the rainbow. Jacob looked up and saw a ladder. The shepherds looked up and saw the angels. The Magi looked up and saw the bright star or a comet that led them to the stable and Jesus.

            The people of the ancient world relied heavily on the stars as a map for their travels. You had to know when and where the stars would rise and set as well as the constellations. Yet following the stars did not mean that their trip would be smooth or direct. It was not like having a GPS. 

            The Wise Men following the star makes for a beautiful story in today’s Gospel (Matt. 2:1-12), but for them it was a challenge to go and find Jesus, especially when they encountered a ruthless Herod.

            We all have our Herod’s that get in the way of our finding Jesus in 2021: our busy schedules, our addictions, our tempers and our temptations. And 2021 will again have lots and lots of know-it-all talking heads on cable TV who will be as ruthless as Herod. Nowhere in the Gospels does Jesus ever say, “I will follow you.” He says again and again, “Follow me!” The star of the Wise Men reminds us to follow Jesus and not the Herod’s of 2021. 

Jesus didn’t invite us to become theologians or Bible scholars. Jesus didn’t call us to become more religious. Jesus didn’t ask us to join an organization or a Political Action Committee. Jesus simply asked us TO FOLLOW HIM.  

Who or what is keeping YOU from following Jesus in our New Year 2021?

ALL I WANT IN THIS LIFE IS FOR PEOPLE TO LOOK AT ME AND THINK “WOW, THIS GAL (GUY) REALLY LOVES JESUS!”

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