Summary: We are prone to miss out on the Star (Christ) if our hearts aren’t open to seeing him.
Title: How to See a Star
Text: Luke 2:8-14
MP: Only the humble can see the amazing peace of Christ
FCF: We are prone to miss out on the Star (Christ) if our hearts aren’t open to seeing him.
Black Hole (How could you miss it?)
My problem with the Gospel narratives: How could you miss it? A Star? An angelic Choir? This was supposed to be god news for all people. And yet, Jesus remained an obscure child.
Answer: You only see what you’re expecting to see. We always expect stars to give light. But a black hole traps all the light it gives off. The only way you can ‘see’ a black hole is notice how it affects everything around it. You can see its effects, but you can’t see it. Jesus the same. I often complain that I have a hard time seeing ‘the one who is the image of the invisible God’ (Col 1:15)
So, how do we see him? We can see what he has done in our lives and the lives of those around us, but only if our hearts are prepared to see him. I want to suggest three ways in particular:
a. Priests pre-coceived notions
b. Trillion Dollar Bet? Sholes’ formula doesn’t see it all
c. The shepherds were in their fields – you in church?
d. A Baby? That’s what’s supposed to deliver us?
e. Time’s unexpected choice – You
f. YouTube / Google
g. Even if…
Do you know what a black hole is? Imagine a star like our sun – or maybe even 10 – 1000x bigger. All of the power, energy, and gravity – but wrapped up in a small ball no more than a mile or two across. There is simply so much mass, so much gravity, that nothing can overcome it. Not the strongest spaceships we can build, not even another star, not even light itself can escape if it gets caught up in the event horizon of a black hole.
And yet, for all of its power, as late as the 1990s, there were still scientists who weren’t convinced they even existed. After all, if you can’t see it, they say, it’s not really science. But because not even light itself can escape, there is literally nothing to see. You can’t observe a black hole directly – you can only tell of its existence by the effects it has on things around it. Scientists didn’t “see” the first black hole until they found one star literally being eaten alive by something else they couldn’t see.
Even our entire Milky Way galaxy is orbiting around what many scientists now think is a massive black hole. There’s no light emanating from the core, but there is still some force so powerful that our math says it must be an object too massive to support its own weight. That’s the definition of a black hole.
You’d think we would not be able to miss something so powerful. I mean, the very thing that our entire galaxy revolves around, and yet we just can’t see it.
That’s helped me with a question that I’ve long had about the Christmas stories we have in Luke in Matthew. Think about this for a second. We have some super star so intriguing that it draws high court officials from thousands of miles away. We have a “bright heavenly host shining round about them,” and stalwart shepherds out in the field are pulled away from their own livelihoods just to go see this thing they heard about.
And yet, most people didn’t even notice it. How could they miss it?
After all, did the king see this star? No – he had to have some “dirty foreigners” tell him (and make no mistake, that’s what he would have thought these wise men were). And did the chief priests and scribes and the religious establishment see him? No – they had to rely on the questions of a co-opted, collaborator king.
For a message that was supposed to be a message of peace for all nations, God sure had a funny way of broadcasting it. For good news that was for all nations, it seemed that a lot of people just didn’t get the memo.
So, why then do we have such a hard time seeing the message – the real star of Christmas?
It’s because we’re wired only to see the things we expect to see. Right this very minute, you are only able to see a small fraction of the spectrum – the visible portion. We only expect to see colors from blue to red. We have to been specially prepared to see ultraviolet or infrared. We can only discern those other things through their effects – like a black hole.