To follow a star

Another Christmas means another poem written for the good folks at Millburn Academy. This year S3 - so I thought I'd try something a little more complex. In reading through the Christmas story this year, I was struck by the mini narrative of the magi who responded to seeing a new star appear. The thought that occurred to me was that following stars is one of the big things we do nowadays on social media and yet, that seems to be a very different proposition from this one. But why?

There are a few layers on this one, and hopefully something good to take away - different people for sure took away different messages, so I'm pleased about that.

Whatever you're doing have a wonderful Christmas and a blessed new year!


One thing that 2017 has had in store

It is easier to follow a star than ever before

With facey, insta and twitter around;

Just click ‘follow’ and updates abound

From whichever celebrity you have agreed

Can fill up the space in your social feed.

“I wonder if he’ll ever come to the Highlands.”

“I wonder what she’s done since leaving Love Island.”

“Are Mila Kunis and Ashton on to a winner?”

“I wonder what Bieber is having for dinner.”

“Did he buy a Lambo?” “Did she get a perm?”

“Did that really happen? It’ll make his wife squirm!”

We have unprecedented access to the celebrity lifestyle

Or at least what their publicists have kept on file.

What do we think of when we follow these stars?

The riches, the parties, the clothes, the cars…

Never before has it been so shoved right at us;

The unrivalled privilege of those with unmerited status.

Our phones might be smart, but we might be getting dimmer

‘coz with following these stars, then no-one’s a winner.

But we say look at the story from way back when

It was the wise men who followed the star and then

I can see where that’s going and I’ll give it its due;

But if we dig a bit we’ll see that’s only part true.

We might want to question what made them so wise…

Was it their great intuition or their knowledge of the skies?

Was it their response when they saw the star rise?

That they needed to see a new king with their own eyes?

Or was their great wisdom more simply comprised

Of the gift-giving plan that they had devised?

See when we follow a star today; we don’t give, we take.

Then we assume what was on offer was probably fake.

And that these celebrities are just on the make

And if they want to eat cake then we should let them eat cake.

Until January.

But what the wise men did when they saw that star lift

Was to pack up and travel – to bring out a gift.

Their guess from the star was that God’s light was there living

And it wasn’t for taking; it was all for giving.

They didn’t know what was coming when they first got in motion

To search for a king; then confused by the notion

That he wasn’t in the palace or any royal place,

But in amongst the poverty, scandal and disgrace.

And yet the gifts they brought – gold, incense, potion;

To give the king with nothing – the child of divine demotion.

When chill and fear surround us on the darkest winter night

The dark cannot confound us wherever there is light

And so the wise men followed when the star did rise above

Then shed its light upon the place they went to look for love.

And so they leave us a lesson in wisdom, light, loving and living

That following the star was for the precious gift of giving.

So this Christmas if you find a ray of light that spreads cheer near and far…

Then give great gifts, share the love and always follow that star.

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