After all the hubbub of Christmas, we Christians often forget the holiday which marks the arrival of the visit of the Three Wisemen. It is called Epiphany, and actually is an older holiday than Christmas itself.
The story of the Wisemen (sometimes erroneously referred to as three kings) is told in the Gospel of Matthew. It tells of the trip they took from what many scholars believe was Persia (perhaps modern-day Iran) to Bethlehem by way of Jerusalem, where they encountered Herod the Great.
The road they took was long and dangerous. But as observers of the heavens, they had seen a star which they believed marked the birth of a royal personage, and so they traveled to see this newborn king. They had seen a star, and they felt compelled to follow it.
If it weren't for those who are willing to follow the stars, to follow their dreams, our world would be a far bleaker place than it is today.
Like one man's dream to build the tallest building in the world. It was 1929, and most folks thought he was crazy to have such a plan. But he'd made millions in the stock market and decided to cash in all his stocks and invest his money in his dream.
A few days after doing so, the stock market crashed. But because he had been willing to follow the star, J. G. Roscoe still had his money, and was able to build the Empire State Building, which today, due to its numerous transmitters serves as a beacon of communication over the entire metropolitan area in New York.
Or how about another fellow considered eccentric by his friends, always inventing some useless gadget or another. And he was always moving from one place to another. In his wanderings he had seen many children die because of contaminated milk. It was his hope to create a method for safely preserving dairy products. And despite the doubts of many, Gail Borden, founder of the Borden's Milk and Ice Cream Company, did just that.
Or how about the young man in the nineteenth century who had seen too many people die from surgery: not because of the actual procedures, but because of the unsanitary dressings that had to be used. He stuck to his dream, he followed his star, and got his brothers to assist him in creating sterile bandages. And over time Robert's dream came true, as he and his brothers, Edward and James, formed Johnson, Johnson, and Johnson Health Care Products.
And the list goes on.
There will always be dangers and risks - there will always be scoffers and experts and cynics who disagree - who say things can't be done.
But stars are there to be followed. The dreams are there to be pursued. And Epiphany is a time we can celebrate those who take the journey, even as those wise men of old did centuries ago.