Happy Christmas—Musical Reflections 5: For the fearful and faithful

And by the light of that same star, Three wise men came from country far.

To seek for a king was their intent, and to follow the star wherever it went.

Do you ever feel like fear inhibits your faith?

Surely it can.

We are all guilty of shrinking back due to fear.

But maybe there is more…

God commands us over and over again in scripture to not be afraid or to fear not.

Some may site those verses and feel immense guilt when they are afraid.

But perhaps God put that in there less so to guilt us—but to invite us into faith. To acknowledge that we live in a world where fear is the natural response to something hard—something scary.

And yet, God.

But, God.

When I read these lyrics from the First Noel, I see a few things:

  • The wise men traveled far—they went to lengths to see Jesus—to experience Him.
  • They wanted to meet Him—they wanted a King.
  • They were willing to follow a somewhat mysterious symbol in order to reach this King.

They traveled far:

What has your journey of faith been like? What lengths have you ventured to follow Jesus?

What have you given up?

What did it cost you?

The lyric here is referring to distance—they traveled a long physical distance.

But I do wonder what the internal landscape of these wise men were.

They took time, certainly.

They walked which made their physical bodies ache.

But what about their hearts, minds, and relationships?

How many doubts did they have to overcome to pack for that trip?

How many insecurities did they have to lay aside.

They were wise men—but were they considered fools by their peers?

Were they ridiculed?

Did their families question them, make fun of them, abandon them?

Were they threatened?

Did they wrestle with laziness?

Or did they fear hoping and then being disappointed?

Was He truly as great as they thought He would be?

And then halfway, did they want to turn around?

Did they yell at the star in the sky because they didn’t know when the journey would end?

Did they feel like they were being tricked by the Divine?

Did they pause and rest and weep from fatigue?

Did they fear they’d never see Him–

Never actually meet Him after sacrificing so much?

They wanted to meet Him. They wanted a King.

They had been promised Him.

They knew His value—His importance.

They knew of His fame.

Were they excited? Was excitement tangled with anxiety?

Did their heart race double time the entire trip?

Did they have to catch their breath as they walked to the manger?

Did they blush with insecurity?

Did they believe they were foolish for longing for Him—a stranger?

Would He feel like a stranger when they saw Him—or a long-lost friend, found?

Did they have hearts filled with hope of this long-awaited King?

Did they have confidence as soon as their eyes met His, all that their hearts longed for would be realized?

And why did they want a King?

What were they seeking rescue from personally—how had they been wounded with lack of leadership or poor leadership?

What did His Kingliness mean to them?

They followed a star.

They followed a bright light in the sky.

It’s easy to read this story, now.

To sing this song, now.

But they didn’t know what would be on the other side of that journey of faith.

They didn’t know how the story would end.

They were called to take a step.

And then another.

And then another, without knowing what we now know, and celebrate and commemorate.

They followed a symbol to get to the substance.

The light—the star was a gift to guide them.

But gosh—how many times did it not make sense.

Children believe in unicorns and fairy dust and symbols of magic.

But us adults?

How did they follow a star?

How did they humble themselves?

How did they risk to follow something that likely seemed like madness.

You and me.

We are born in very different times. Very different places than these wise men.

It would be tempting to say, what does this story, this path have to do with me?

But doesn’t it?

How grateful I am for these big brothers of faith.

The internal struggles I think they wrestled with are likely similar—the heart postures and worries that keep me up at night. Did wise me 1, 2 or 3 also experience that?

Did they hesitate as they put their sandals on their feet in the same way, I sometimes have to wrestle to get out of bed?

This journey has such a different context, but I am not convinced that us and these wise men were all that different.

When I think about the balm for our souls when we do fear…

Scripture offers it over and over again.

Just as it says, fear not…

The next line is often…

For I am with you.

Emmanuel.

The above rambling post is filled with questions, just as my heart is filled with erratic heart beats that speak fear to me as fast as a hummingbirds wings.

Someday soon,

My eyes will meet His.

Just as the wise men looked at the eyes of tender Jesus.

Until then, He has embedded Himself in my heart through the Holy Spirit.

And I will follow Him,

As they followed the star.

The journey is long.

The road for you is unique, just as mine is for me.

But this King.

He is with us.

He came for you.

Will you continue on in the journey for Him?

Cheers, friends.

Sincerely,

Crystal

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