After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed.
One of the brightest stars I’ve ever seen was shining directly above the bedroom of a ten-year-old girl who lived in an ordinary cul-de-sac on the south coast of England.
Five days earlier she’d been walking to school with a friend and never arrived. I was one of the reporters dispatched to the seaside town to cover the story for a national newspaper. As the hours passed it looked increasingly likely the girls had been abducted.
I spent my days hanging around the police station, covering press conferences and waiting for updates. The best case scenario was that they’d run away. The worst case I didn’t want to consider. Sadly, I was well-versed in covering stories of missing children who didn’t return safely. As a rookie reporter I’d spent several days in Reading Crown Court listening to harrowing evidence given by a notorious paedophile about the final hours of a little boy. I knew that the world was not ‘safe’ and that people were literally capable of anything.
By this stage in my career, though, I liked to think that I was a seasoned hack. I was tough, I could cope. But I was also very tired; despondent and dispirited. So maybe it wasn’t such a surprise to find myself sitting in my hotel room one evening, sobbing after covering a press conference with the family.
I certainly wasn’t a Christian at the time and hadn’t ‘been to church’ for years although I did believe in God. But the country was praying for the return of these little girls and I found myself joining them. I prayed a lot over the next few days.
Then rumours started to circulate that they’d been found and I’ll never forget the elation amongst the media pack when we were told the girls were safe. That night we gathered outside that little girl’s house, hoping for a quote from a family member or a glimpse of the child herself. And suddenly there she was in her pyjamas waving at us from her bedroom window. I knew that stories don’t always have happy endings and wondered too what had happened to her in the short time she was being held against her will. But I looked up into the clear sky above that family home and, like the travellers who were seeking Christ, I saw the brightest star and was filled with joy, and hope.
And looking back now 15 years later I can see that this sparked something in my soul that started me on my own personal journey towards a God of love and a new beginning.
Sarah is a freelance journalist with more than 20 years of experience in print media and television.
Are you tired today? Maybe a little bit despondent? Sarah talks of feeling like this and yet being filled with joy and hope on seeing a star in the sky. Who are the people in your life that bring you joy and hope? Today, let them know how much they mean to you. Drop them a text or give them a call and in turn you will bring some joy and hope into their lives too.