They missed the opportunity of a lifetime. A little curiosity would have led them to witness a miracle. Instead, they are characters in the Christmas story who are not part of a nativity scene. They didn’t follow the star.
The magi from the east saw a star and followed it to Jerusalem (Mat. 2). They inquired about the birth of a king. Herod connected their request to prophecies about the coming Messiah. The scribes reported that 700 years prior, a prophet wrote that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem (Mic. 5:2). So the magi struck off toward Bethlehem. Alone.
The scribes couldn’t be bothered to find out for themselves if something wonderful was happening. Their prophet told of a “child born to us” whose name would be “Mighty God” (Isa. 9:6). The star signaled that defining event of all human history. The light beckoned their attention, but they met the moment with disinterest.
You make the same mistake if you ignore the light given to you. You see it in classic Christmas movies. “It’s a Wonderful Life” appeals to your yearning for goodness, selflessness, and love to prevail, and for greed, fear, and meaninglessness to be vanquished. In “White Christmas,” you yearn for truth to overcome misunderstanding. The beauty, music, and warmth in the final scene with snow falling behind the Christmas tree is a contrast with the cold horror of war in the beginning scene. Why does the human heart yearn for beauty, goodness, love, acceptance, peace, and restoration? Those yearnings are the stars that lead the curious and guide the wise to truth.
In The Unknown God, Alister McGrath writes about these stirring spiritual yearnings. “In the end, only God can satisfy – precisely because we are made to relate to God, and luxuriate in His presence. Until we do so, our hearts will remain restless, and we must live with the pain of this desire and longing.”
Your heart’s deep yearning is your star, pointing you to the One who satisfies. Meet the moment and follow the star to the Light of mankind (John 1:4).