One of the major images of the Christmas story is the “Star of Bethlehem.” For centuries people navigated by looking at the stars. The intrepid adventurous and the ordinary traveler looked to the sky in order to find their way. At Christmas a star figures prominently in the story of the birth of Jesus. The Maji follow their star and it leads them to the meaning of their journey – not a king, or an emperor, not the powerful or the rich, but a child, a poor child, a humble, little child. Yet, this child was their treasure. Shepherd’s also saw the star and found their way to a stable – and the comfort of knowing God had come to be with them.
I have always been struck by the engagement of families in the life of the schools here at St. Dominic and Victory. When I was a child, we didn’t have that back home in Ireland. Typically, except for infants, children found their way to school and back home in the afternoon. There were no pageants at Christmas and Easter, there were no grandparents’ days, and no open house. School was school and that was all. Today, for my nieces and nephews and grandnieces and grandnephews it is different.
I am privileged to witness something very special here at our schools. It's amazing to see the joy that parents, grandparents, uncles and aunts, families, have in participating in the life and events of their children and grandchildren. And to be honest, as I stand back and observe as a privileged witness, it’s even more wonderful to see the joy on the faces, and in the hearts, of our children when they see their parents and grandparents, aunts and uncles, families. You can see the children’s deep sense of gratitude, excitement, joy and love. Your children love you and they love to be with you, and they love when you are here with them. They look at you and you can see their absolute conviction that you are theirs and they are yours. They love to be with you. You are their life, their treasure.
You are their stars and for them you shine out and show them the way. They want to be you, they want to be like you, and they want to follow you. I wonder if you know that, I wonder if they know how important you are to them. Without the star no one would have found their way to Bethlehem. The star pointed the way and guided the kings and shepherds to the Baby Jesus. God has sent you into the world to shine for them. God sent you into the world to show them the way. You are the star that will lead them to Jesus, the child of Bethlehem.
Children need stars to follow, and you are the most important stars in their lives. Children follow where you go, you show the way. You show them how to live, how to love, how to be a good loving husband or wife, a loving mother or father, a loving son or daughter, a good person, a kind person, a courageous and compassionate person. Who you are they will become, where you lead, they will follow, what you do, they will copy? Children need stars to follow, and they need those stars to lead to a life worth living, values worth having, a character well formed in love. Most of all they need to follow you, their star, to the same Child, the same God, that the original star led kings and shepherds to find in Bethlehem. They need you to lead them to God – who is life – the only life worth having and the only life worth living.
God sent you into their lives to be a star. Shine for them!