On a dark and clear night, stars sparkled high above the hills where shepherds watched their sheep. But this evening was different for they "talked together of the promised Saviour, and prayed for the coming of the King to David's throne" (Ellen White, The Desire of Ages, page 47).
Then suddenly, "an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified" (Luke 2:9, NIV). To comfort them, the angel said, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today, in the town of David, a Savior has been born to you; He is the Messiah, the Lord" (verse 10, NIV).
The angel explained that Baby Jesus was "wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger" (verse 12, NIV). And heaven rejoiced, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!" (verse 14, KJV).
Not only the shepherds saw that supernatural light; the wise men, known as Magi, in the land of Mesopotamia, also did.
"As these Magi studied the starry heavens and sought to fathom the mystery hidden in their bright paths, they beheld the glory of the Creator. Seeking clearer knowledge, they turned to the Hebrew Scriptures" (Ellen White, The Desire of Ages, page 59).
They were familiar with the prophecy of Balaam, who himself was from Mesopotamia and had once declared: "A Star will come out of Jacob; a Scepter will rise out of Israel" (Numbers 24:17, NIV).
With this, the wise men wondered, "Could this be the Star?" True enough, "The magi had welcomed the light of heaven-sent truth; now, it was shed upon them in brighter rays. Through dreams, they were instructed to go in search of the newborn Prince" (Ellen White, The Desire of Ages, page 60).
And so, they brought gifts and traveled, following the star for several weeks. Arriving in Jerusalem, they inquired, "Where is He Who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star when it rose and have come to worship Him" (Matthew 2:2, ESV). Surprisingly, no one seemed to be aware of the news.
When King Herod knew about this, he met with the wise men and instructed them, "Go and search diligently for the Child, and when you have found Him, bring me word, that I too may come and worship Him" (verse 8, ESV).
And so, the Magi went on with their journey, following the guiding light to the manger of the blessed Child. As they reached His place, "they gave their hearts to Him as their Savior, and then poured out their gifts" (Ellen White, The Desire of Ages, p. 63).
In reflection, we have the guiding light of Bible prophecy. The Apostle Peter assures us: "We also have the prophetic message as something completely reliable, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts" (2 Peter 1:19, NIV).
Some people doubt Jesus' soon return but "wise" men and women who study the prophecies today are confident that what is yet to happen will definitely take place as prophesied. "Yet a little while, and the coming One will come and will not delay; but my righteous one shall live by faith" (Hebrews 10:37-38, ESV).
As an appeal, let us follow this guiding light from God's Word.