A few weeks ago I did a one day photography course (a gift from my wife) at Beamish Hall. I have had a Canon DSLR camera for many years and have enjoyed using it but almost exclusively on the automatic settings. The course was designed to help novices like me use camera settings to create images that wouldn’t be possible using just the automatic settings. Using my new-found expertise I successfully photographed the moon last week with a clarity I’d never been able to achieve before.
It’s fascinating looking up into the night sky and trying to imagine what it is like up there and trying to come to terms with the scale of our solar system, galaxy, universe and beyond. It is truly mind boggling! At least we have some concept of the vastness of space. Giant telescopes linked to powerful computer and many years of space travel exploration have increased our knowledge and piqued our interest.
But what of those early explorers, those star gazers who followed a star all the way to a stable at Bethlehem? They had no cameras, no telescopes, no space stations or shuttles. What they did have were 2 important qualities. First, they had something that we tend to lose when we move from being a child to becoming an adult; they had a sense of curiosity. They wanted to learn more, they longed to find out what was the meaning of this star. Secondly, they were prepared to respond to that voice inside them that said, ‘This is important, go for it!’ I’m sure there were many other voices that were telling them they were crazy and the wise thing to do was to stay at home.
We’re about to celebrate Christmas, then sign off on 2016 and begin a New Year. As we do so I pray that you will not lose your sense of curiosity. I am certain that God has so much more for us to learn about him, about each other and about ourselves. May we always have open, curious hearts, minds and lives. And then, when from time to time you hear that still small voice urging you on to new ventures of faith I pray that you will be able to listen, focus and respond.
May you know grace and peace this Christmas time and into another New Year.