by Lee Hull Moses
“Haphazard by starlight.” The phrase comes from a poem called “BC:AD” by U.A. Fanthorpe, which we’ve read on Christmas Eve in years past. I love the last stanza:
And this was the moment/ When a few farm workers and three /Members of an obscure Persian sect /Walked haphazard by starlight straight /Into the kingdom of heaven.
Haphazard by starlight… I guess I’m not even sure what that means, but the image I get is of the three kings wandering dazedly around the desert, watching the star, until they found themselves, unexpectedly, at the bedside of the baby Jesus.
Usually, we think of the three kings making a grand royal entrance, with a huge procession including camels and trumpet fanfare. But I kinda like the idea of these three wanderers making their way toward Bethlehem, eyes skyward the whole way, not sure where they were going and what they might find when they arrive.
This is the time of year, of course, when many of us make new year’s resolutions. We set goals, commit to eating better and exercising more, reading more books and spending less time on social media. We confidently make lists and plans. We know – at least for a couple of weeks, until those resolutions wear off – where we’re headed. We might as well include a trumpet fanfare.
Generally, I’m all about goals and lists of things to do. I don’t often wander haphazardly with no particular direction in mind. But I wonder if we have something to learn from those wise ones who traveled to Bethlehem without map or a clear destination, with only the star to guide them. What might we find if we wandered more and planned less?
In worship on Sunday, we’ll continue our annual tradition of sharing “star words.” Each of us will have a chance to choose a word – or rather, let a word choose us – that could be our guiding star for this next year. And maybe that word will let you wander a little bit, haphazard by starlight, even, right into the kingdom of heaven.