The Bible tells of the “wise men” who journeyed to Bethlehem to see the baby Jesus. Perhaps they could intuit the beginning of something wonderful even though they might not have been able to explain fully what it was that drew them to keep following the star that guided their path.
A less familiar part of the Bible story tells us that along the way these men had seen the king, Herod. Herod had asked them to come back to him, to inform him of the whereabouts of the new baby. Afraid that his own power was threatened by the prophesied Messiah, he intended to kill the baby.
But after the wise men saw the baby Jesus and presented him with gifts, the Bible tells us, “Being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way” (Matthew 2:12).
I’ve often found myself thinking about the wisdom of those wise men, whose receptiveness to the graceful leading of the divine Mind, God, kept the baby Jesus safe. Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered Christian Science, calls such heavenly intuitions “angels,” or messages from the all-loving God, that guide us to do what is good, loving, health-giving, and wise. The ever present, powerful, righteous God – the one and only God, who is Love itself – is here to help us navigate out of dark times of fear, conflict, and uncertainty.
It takes humility to listen for and trust the way of God’s leading – to “follow the star,” so to speak, the ever-new and dawning light awakening us to God’s endless love. It also takes courage, willingness, and patience, particularly when the way forward doesn’t seem clear to us. But the outcome benefits us and those around us, too.
There have been times when I’ve been with family, friends, colleagues, and even church mates when our views or opinions have differed, sometimes significantly. At such times I haven’t always known when to voice my thoughts, or when not to, and I have sometimes jumped in to make my point heard in a less than graceful way!
However, in those moments, when I pause to listen for the “angels” that speak gently to us and are constantly at our side, I gain a deeper sense of “God with us” (Matthew 1:23), unfolding goodness and wisdom at each moment. I’ve often found that the very point I’m trying to convey is so much better expressed when I’ve had the patience and the humility to allow divine Love to guide my response. At other times it has become clear that the best way forward has been to say nothing at all.
It’s a small example, but it’s helped me see how the willingness to listen to God for moment-by-moment direction brings higher and newer views of God’s grace and goodness. I see this as a Christly lesson, a gift of wisdom, from the story of the wise men. No human circumstance can stop this spiritual growth. Since we are all (yes, all!) God’s children, we are created to reflect the pure wisdom that turns us away from material-mindedness, pride, and division, and makes us an instrument of peace.
God’s angels remain with us through good as well as challenging times, empowering us to choose the way that best reflects the God that is infinite Love. As this Bible passage puts it: “The wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace” (James 3:17, 18).
To our readers: As the new year approaches, we’d like to thank you for reading, writing, and sharing Christian Science Perspective articles this year. The last CSP of 2020 will be published tomorrow, Dec. 23, and then we’ll be back on Jan. 4. Warmest Christmas wishes, and Happy New Year!