Following the Star


An Italian Legend of the Three Kings has them stopping at the house of Befana. She invites them in, provides a place for rest and some nourishment. They in turn offer her the spiritual nourishment of visiting the newborn king, Jesus.

Befana is busy about many things, such as laundry, tidying up after her guests, and just getting her house back in order. However, she agrees to the journey and says that she will be right behind them. “Just follow the star,” they say and are off to do just that.

After a night of straightening the house, Befana takes off to follow the star but unfortunately, for her the clouds have covered up the possibility of seeing the star. Soon Befana gives up and returns home. Befana chides herself for her foolish choice and laments missing her chance to worship the Prince of Peace. Each year around the same time, she sets out again with a bag of toys in hopes of finding the Child she missed.

This probably sounds very familiar to you, doesn’t it? Like Befana you probably have found yourself very busy during the season of Advent. Tempted by the world outside to busyness, we often neglect the real preparation for the coming of Christ. How much time did I spend in preparing my heart for the coming of Jesus into the world this Christmas? Did I even think of dusting the dark places within and opening them to the light of the world? It is difficult to spend more time within when everything outside is screaming for my attention. It is hard not to have my focus on the external because every ad, every commercial, even the music I listen to is about the best buys, best decorations, best entertainment, all the things I cannot live without. The truth is that the real gift of Christmas, the priceless gift is the Savior of the world. Moreover, he is waiting for us to open ourselves to the opportunity to receive his eternal love.

Befana missed the opportunity to travel with the three Kings and she lamented her loss for years. However, perhaps she did learn the value of putting all those worldly cares aside and taking the internal journey into eternal love. Can we learn from her lament and her continued pursuit of the Babe?

It is never too late to prepare for Christ. Today is Christmas; can I set aside some time today in gratitude for the coming of the Prince of Peace?

We want to share this special day, this holy season with our family and friends in ways that provide beauty and expressions of love. The peace of the Christmas and the beauty of the season is the Incarnate Word of God and the love that God showers on us with the birth of Christ. Opening up and allowing time for our spirits to be peace-filled and loved are the best decorations, the best gifts and certainly the best way to welcome friends and family into our hearts and homes.

Let us pray.

Eternal love, be with us during this holy time when you are mademanifest in the presence of Christmas and the gift of the Infant King.

We come before you on this Holy Night, in hopes of finding peace for our world and ourselves at this time of unrest and discord. May our prayer change our hearts that we may spread your peace and love in our world. Amen

Sister Mary Ellen Brinovec