We see meaning everywhere, even where there is none intended, making shapes and stories that suit our thoughts or temperaments. Faces in sliced tomatoes, angels in shadows, the machinations of pareidolia are endless. Even on seeing a bright star, we wonder what it wants to tell us and we will follow it to the ends of the earth, or play cosmic dot-to-dot until we imagine we have forged a Greek hero from a constellation.
Sometimes following the signs is wise, and sometimes, pointless. How are we to know the difference? The star that shines over Bethlehem pulls on our dreams whilst we sleep. It occupies our mind in prayer. It sits, gently fidgeting in our hearts, until we cannot help but dust off our telescopes, bring out our star charts, and speak of it to our learned friends.
Sages know not to name or number stars, but only to bask in their silver glow, as their servants check saddle straps on camels, and pack precious cargo into leather bags, new wineskins that will jostle with supplies, bearing the strangeness of specialised spice and fragrance, along with the clink of gold coins.
No, we do not always know when a star needs following, but if we wait, and listen, pay attention to its shining cries, we too may journey in readiness to meet our King, gifts that have cost the earth bruising our ankles in swaying gilded boxes as we ride towards a far off manger.
Photo from Pixabay