03 January 2015


isaiah 60:1-6; ephesians 3:2-3a, 5-6; matthew 2:1-12

on a fog-shrouded 04 july 1952 morning, florence chadwick attempted to swim from catalina island to the california coast. the circs were awful: the water was numbing cold; there were sharks in the vicinity; the fog was so thick she couldn’t see the boats in her party. after 15 hours in the water, chadwick asked to be taken out of the water. her trainer tried to encourage her to swim on because she was within a half mile of the shore, but chadwick quit. later she told a reporter: «i'm not excusing myself. but if i could have seen land, i might have made it.» 
two months later chadwick re-attempted the swim. again mist obscured the coastline and she couldn’t see the shore. but she kept reminding herself that land was there. she steadfastly sought her goal and succeeded.

the magi, who journeyed from «the east» to jerusalem to pay homage to the newborn king of the jews, did something similar! 
they faced tremendous odds: a long and arduous journey; cold weather; lack of shelter; having to seek directions from a sinister herod... but they steadfastly sought their goal. they kept reminding themselves that the newborn king was somewhere ahead; allowed themselves to be guided by the star; were humble enough to seek direction; were open to learning from religious leaders; and had faith to recognize the king «when they saw the child with mary his mother.» 
and after their encounter with the newborn king they were transformed: they resisted herod and «departed for their country by another way» 

our life’s journey, too, is long and arduous. we face fearsome challenges and difficulties. we will not fail if we keep sight of our goal, allow ourselves to be guided by the light of CHRIST, seek direction from spiritual leaders, and have faith to recognize our king in the mundane. our encounters with the king ought to transform us and make us courageous to resist the herods of today.
will i steadfastly seek CHRIST despite the challenges i face? will i allow myself to be transformed after my encounters with him?