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Pastor column: Direction comes from many sources

Father John C. Anderson

We recently celebrated the Epiphany in our churches. The celebration also known as the Three Kings or Little Christmas in various cultures, the time when the Magi went to visit Jesus shortly after his birth. They received their direction from following a star.

Where do we get our direction? Do we think we need it? Direction can be more than getting from point A to point B. The Scripture passages about the Magi are filled with directions. The Magi from the Star. Mary and Joseph from angels and the Magi. Even Herod had direction from God.

As we read the lessons of this season we must realize that Jesus, Mary and Joseph are more than just statues or cardboard cutouts. They lived a family life, not always sure what was to come. Joseph and Mary did not fully know the difference they would make after they were gone. Neither do we! They all needed direction. Do we? From where? God?

Those in Scripture asked for direction, they prayed, they listened and in the end they shared their gifts. They made a difference. Even Herod, but his direction ended up coming from his own envy and jealousy, the things he wanted to happen.

We may not get our directions from a star or from angels, at least not directly. I believe that often our direction can come through other people in our lives.

The Magi were foreigners in the land where Jesus was born. They had knowledge of Hebrew but would have spoken it with a very heavy foreign accent. Mary and Joseph listened to their message.

We put obstacles to possible signs in our lives when we discount other people, when we are sure we know who they really are or have information on them. I receive a magazine called "Priest" that had some great reflection questions for these passages. They were: When you see others, do you see differences or likenesses? Have you received compassion from another lately? When was that last time you talked to someone who differed from you? Was it productive? Why? (or why not?) Do you believe God's compassionate love includes everyone, even you?

Like those in Scripture are we willing to ask, pray, listen to God then choose? Then are we willing to share our gifts? God gives us direction in many ways. It is up to us to choose which direction!