Guiding Light

And the star they had seen in the east guided them to Bethlehem.  It went ahead of them and stopped over the place where the child was.  Matthew 2:9

The autumn of 1973 was unusually foggy here in Michigan.  Every morning I awoke to a world blanketed in a dense, moist cloud of grey.  It was impossible to see even across the street.  I recall these foggy mornings so clearly because I had just begun driving myself to school, a trip of about 8 miles due west, directly into the thickest whorls of fogginess. I was terrified trying to make my way through this mist, virtually blind to anything farther away than the hood of my little blue Chevrolet.

But I had also just started dating  a young man who was very protective of me, so protective that he would drive to my house each of these foggy mornings and then drive his car ahead of me all the way to my school.  I would closely follow the bright red tail lights of his shiny Mustang, letting him guide me safely to the entrance.  He was a beacon in the darkness on those chill autumn mornings.

This is Epiphany, perhaps my favorite season of the liturgical year, for it celebrates mankind being led out of darkness to the hope that comes from the birth of Christ, being led by the light of a star that guides them and stops over the place where the Christ child lay.

How often do we follow the stars that appear overhead?  Do we recognize their aura, the ray of light that beckons us toward new roads in life, new people to love, new ways to share our hearts and new avenues of expression?  Do we even recognize the stars that shine for us, or do we blithely ignore their  light and muddle along in our own foggy darkness? 

The story of the Magi, the three wise men who followed the star, is a story of faith and hope.  Like all stories, it attempts to enlighten us, to make us aware of different possibilities for our lives and our spirits.  It attempts to kindle new emotions and awaken new ideas.  To make us think about where the light in our lives is shining, and where the stars are leading.  And to give us courage…for these three men set off in search of a vague promise.  The world would likely call them foolish, to follow a star.  But because they believed, they gathered their gifts and went on their way.  Because they surrendered to their  belief they were forever enlightened. 


The night sky was still dim and pale.  There, peeping among the cloud wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while.  The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him.  For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.”  J.R.R. Tolikien, The Return of the King

Now tell me, what beckons you out of the darkness?  Where is your star leading you?


12 thoughts on “Guiding Light

  1. What a beautiful post, Becca! And I so want to know what happened with the young man. Did you marry him? That is quite some devotion, to lead you to school every morning. I think the best guiding light comes from our own inner voice. Sometimes you have to be in a quiet spot and patient to hear it, but it always speaks with integrity (even if we don’t always want to hear what it has to say!). May your 2010 be full of gorgeous epiphanies.

    • I did indeed marry him, and he’s been guiding my way for the past 34 years 🙂

      You’re so right about being patient and listening for the inner voice. That’s the hardest thing for me to do!

  2. Lovely post, and a beautiful story, too! I’d also like to know what happened with the young man… such devotion. And as for a guiding light, I think it comes from within.

  3. I am greatly touched by this post – the message it contains. Sometimes, I am really lost and I can’t find any guide. Maybe it’s there, but clouded and I can’t see it. But whenever I pray, as in I talk loudly as if God is in front of me, my mind is rearranged into proper order and I then see what I have to do and sometimes, all I have to do is wait.

    That part about the man who guides through the mist is so beautiful. I hope that man is a good one and that he may be the person intended for you. I hope I find the person for me too who’d be brave enough to lead me out of my mist.

    • Lex, I’m so glad this spoke to you. We all feel lost sometimes, I think, and need a star to guide us. I like what you said about waiting after you pray…that’s important I think, but hard to do.

      I’m hoping you find shining stars to guide you your whole life long 🙂

  4. That’s a lovely post – and I am blushing because I totally expected a post about the soap opera. Which, um, I in no way watched obsessively as a college sophomore…

    • Ha! I thought about that soap too when I was writing the title. I watched All My Children for years, but my mother in law was a big fan of Guiding Light 🙂

  5. One of the things that guides me is finding a kindred spirit, who shares my love of books, but even better, faith.

    Often I find myself in a desert in those two areas. My mother whose love for reading helps assuage the bibliophile in me, along with the book blogging buddies I’ve made since I began blogging.

    But, Christian friends are harder to find. Both of my ‘real life’ book clubs are filled with women who do not understand my faith. I’m blessed with a family who does, and a dear friend down our street who does. Perhaps I reiterate myself by saying it comforts me to find your words of faith here. Too often I feel a stranger in this land.

    Of course, the other great guide is not only the Holy Spirit but scripture. I looked it up the liturgical calendar online so that I was able to mark each reading in the Mosiac with the correct week. I’d be glad to share those dates with you if you don’t have them, just let me know.

    • The journey of faith is often lonely ~ this I know. It is always a joy to find others who share the road. I’m glad to walk beside you in spirit here.

      And yes, I would love to have the dates for the liturgical calendar. Thank you for sharing. You can email me at beccasbookstack (at) gmail (dot) com.

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