Follow the Star
calendar_todaySat 1st December 2018 - 4:07pm
#FollowTheStar is the Church of England’s campaign this Christmas. In the Parish of Birchwood and Woolston we are joining in with this initiative and you will see #FollowTheStar feature on our advertising and Facebook page over the next few weeks.
If we think about the role of the star in the first Christmas we recall the Magi (Wise Men) from the East who followed the star to find Jesus. There’s debate as to who the Magi were. We know that they were from the East, and their gifts tell us that they were of distinguished means. Some would have us believe the Magi were astrologers or sorcerers. However, what is clear is that they were people seeking the Messiah and the hope that he would bring to the earth.
The Shepherds, who were of much poorer means than the Magi, found their way to Jesus too. I’m sure there are others, also of different means and character, who are not documented in the Gospels, who found their way to greet the new born king. Each group who visited Jesus would have found their way there in different ways. The Magi used the star to guide them, and the shepherds were told of Jesus’ location by an angel.
Each Christmas churches put on various services and events to help people find Jesus afresh. These include carol services, nativity plays, fayres, social events, christingles and midnight communion services. In Birchwood and Woolston we have many such things planned this Advent and Christmas. Those of us who come to church regularly easily find our way to these services and events. But, those who are not part of our church community or who rarely step foot inside church need someone or something to guide them. This Christmas, to help the shy, the nervous, the reluctant, the unaware, find the Baby Jesus we need to be the shepherds and stars.
Earlier this year Bishop Paul launched an initiative called #BringOneFriend. The aim is that we will all invite at least one person to church services and events per year. If we all invite one friend, we have the opportunity to double the size of our church. Christmas is the easiest time of the year to invite someone to church. Many people who wouldn’t call themselves religious enjoy the carols and traditions of church at Christmas. To be the star or the angel this Christmas all we need to say is “I’m going, it’s going to be good, why don’t you come with me?”.
Jesus, God with us, Emmanuel, came for all; the poor Shepherds, the distinguished Magi and, you and I. Let us do all we can to be the star and angel this Christmas so that all get to experience the joy of Emmanuel, God with us.