by Tony Nester

Star of Wonder
Tony R. Nester
Matthew 2:1-12

One of my favorite Christmas carols has always been ‘‘We Three Kings’’. The melody has a lilting movement to it that helps us feel the movement of the magi riding on camels from the East toward Bethlehem.

The carol lifts up the ‘‘Star of Wonder’’ that inspired the three kings to undertake their journey and it shines on many of the Christmas cards we’ve been opening in our mail. We’ll sing the hymn at the close our service today, and I hope it elicits some feeling of wonder in your heart for the Christmas story.

In seminary I learned from worship experts that we shouldn’t sing ‘‘We Three Kings’’ during Advent or Christmas. That’s because it’s not a Christmas song -- it’s a song for Epiphany.

Epiphany is the Season of the Church Year that follows the 12 Days of Christmas. Epiphany is about the shining of the Light of Christ into all the world. The Star of Bethlehem is an Epiphany Star, rather than a Christmas Star -- according to worship experts.

Epiphany is Sunday, January 6th and that’s when we’re officially supposed to sing ‘‘We Three Kings.’’ There are Christian families that keep their nativity sets up through the 12 Days of Christmas and then on Epiphany bring in the three wise men to complete the set before taking it down.

Even though we’re liturgically incorrect I believe the story of the Star and the ‘‘wise men’’ has a message we need to hear as we approach Christmas. The ‘‘Star of Wonder’’ has some light to shine on how we live as Christians in a world where increasingly we’re discovering our neighbors, our school mates, our fellow Americans, and our enemies, as non-Christians. If Christmas is going to continue to include a message of ‘‘peace on earth’’ we’re going to need to learn more about how to live with people of other religions.

We’ll learn more about this during this year’s Lenten Study which will be about Christianity and world religions. I hope you’ll consider joining us for ...

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