[The magi] asked [King Herod], “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We’ve seen his star in the east, and we’ve come to honor him.” – Matthew 2:2
During the pandemic and people staying in their homes, an interesting phenomenon occurred. Pollution lifted and people saw things that they couldn’t see before. In one Indian city, residents saw the Himalayan mountains for the first time in 100 years, something pollution had previously hidden.
The beauty was always there, but just couldn’t be seen.
The “wise” people from the East clearly see a star, then follow it. Why didn’t others see it? Was it because there was so much pollution in their lives? All those things that interfere with us seeing things clearly, brightly? It’s so easy to throw gas on the smoldering emotions that sometimes volcano-up from within: jealousy, anger, greed, prejudice…you name it. And the rancid smoke chokes the sky.
Yet there is beauty above the smoke, if we look for it. Stars do shine. It takes asking what those wise people asked. “Where’s the king?” Translated, that means “Who am I going to serve?” Myself, with all the smoky pollutants that come from self-service? Or the Creator, with a world of wonder and a community of marvelous fellow travelers? With one come skyrocket pleasures and free-fall disappointments. With the other comes a ride through a world of wonder. With one comes a field of vision only about arm’s length. With the other comes a view of the Himalayas.
In one way, the wise men weren’t that smart. Why go to a violent, paranoid Herod, who had killed family members because they were a threat, and ask where the new king was? But maybe such naiveté comes with higher wisdom. Once you focus on what/who is of utmost importance, the insanity of others doesn’t scare you.