2018-01-10 / Faith

On the Twelfth Day of Christmas…

Lessons from the Heart
By Father Clayton Thompson


Thompson Thompson Last Saturday marked the “Twelfth Day of Christmas,” as the popular song recounts. In years past, the Christian celebration of Christmas spanned from Dec. 25 to Jan. 6 (12 days after), ending with the feast of the Epiphany, which recalls the arrival of the Magi (or Wise Men) to Bethlehem’s manger to worship the newborn King.

Matthew gives us the story, “The star which they had seen in the East went before them, until it came to rest over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy; and going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him.” (Matthew 2:9-11).

The Magi’s search impresses something profoundly on our minds and hearts. They sought the star, without exactly knowing to what or to whom it would lead them. They were spurred on by a desire that they did not fully understand, but felt compelled to follow. And, after a long and dangerous journey, when the star’s location finally indicated that their search had come to an end, they were filled “with an exceeding joy,” as the Gospel tells us.

What would be in the place over which the star hovered? When the goal of their search was finally unveiled, what would they see? “And going into the house, they saw the child.” It seems an unlikely treasure-and a doubtful king. But to those eyes and hearts that had searched for so long, the only response that could be given was to “fall down and worship.” Here, indeed, was everything that they had hoped for, but never expected; in Jesus, every desire of their hearts was satisfied. The search was over.

On the Twelfth Day of Christmas each year, the Magi remind us that every desire of every human heart is, at its very core, a desire that can be fulfilled only by God. Allow me to emphasize this, every desire. Isn’t it funny that, even in those moments in which we wander from God, what carries us away from him is nothing more than a misunderstood desire to have a deeper relationship with Him? He is the star whose light has always drawn us onward, who alone can end our search for happiness and peace.

For those who share the longing to bring Jesus to the world and the world to Jesus, the Magi offer us a humble reminder, sharing the Gospel might actually be as simple as standing outside that forgotten stable, pointing within, and saying, “Here he is, the One for whom you have always been searching.”

Father Clayton Thompson is administrator of St. Joseph Catholic Church in Delphi.

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