As we look forward to celebrating the birth of Christ, it’s easy to forget the fact that many people are not joyful. Illness, poverty, loneliness, unemployment and other difficulties do not take a break for Christmas. For some people, looking into the future is a scary proposition – all that they can see is darkness.
We all go through periods like this in our lives and they are not pleasant. However, I find it comforting to remember the story of the wise men and their search for the newly born king. Initially, they saw a rising star which told them that the Lord was born (Mt 2:2), but then it was no longer visible to them. They traveled to Jerusalem to inquire about the birthplace of the Lord. King Herod sent them to Bethlehem and, on the way, the star reappeared and led them directly to Jesus.
Don’t panic when you feel lost and your star disappears. As Blessed Charles de Foucauld points out, sometimes the Lord allows it to happen in order to remind us that this world is not our permanent home:
“God sometimes allows us to be in such profound darkness that not a single star shines in our skies. The reason is that we must be reminded that we are on earth only to suffer, while following our gentle Savior along a dark and thorny path. We are pilgrims and strangers on earth. Pilgrims sleep in tents and sometimes cross deserts, but the thought of their homeland makes them forget everything else.”
We must continue to travel the road to our home in heaven. If you feel lost and alone, imitate the example of the wise men and ask for help. We are all on the journey together and need to pray for and assist one another. More importantly, ask Our Blessed Mother to help you discover Jesus in the midst of the darkness. Eventually, your star will reappear and the road will be clear. In the meantime, take one day at a time knowing that the Lord is always with you…even when you can’t see Him!
Do not fear nor be dismayed, for the LORD, your God, is with you wherever you go. (Joshua 1:9)