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Star-Gazing on Epiphany

When Descartes said, “I think, therefore I am,” he did us no favor, but further fragmented us, making us limit ourselves to the cognitive at the expense of the imaginative and the intuitive.  But each time we read the gospels we are offered anew this healing reconciliation and, if we will, we can accept the most wondrous gift of the magi.

To me, the glory of the heavens is most evident at night--a cold, clear night when the stars are more brilliant than diamonds.  The wise men looked at the stars, and what they saw called them away from their comfortable dwellings and toward Bethlehem.  When I look at the stars I see God’s glory in the wonder of creation.

The stars can become idols when we look to them for counsel, which should come only from God.  For the magi, astronomy and astrology were one science, and it is probably a very sad thing that they ever became separated.  That is yet another schism which looks for healing, and we have not been as wise as the three magi who came from their far corners of the world, seeking the new king, the king who was merely a child.

Surely if the world is as interdependent as the discoveries of particle physics imply, then what happens among the stars does make a difference to our daily lives.  But the stars will not and should not tell us the future.  They are not to be worshiped.  Like the wise men, we no longer bring presents to the moon and the stars, for this child made the moon and the stars.

From Glimpses of Grace: Daily Thoughts and Reflections, by Madeleine L'Engle.