There is an ancient legend that tells how the Magi for a time lost sight of the star. They had started out with high resolve, holy purpose, and hopeful expectation.
Together, they rode for mile upon mile, excitedly, hopefully, eagerly awaiting the conclusion of their quest.
At first, as is the case with many journeys, conversation was light hearted and somewhat trivial.
Then it became more profound, more philosophical, more concentrated on the enormity of the implications of their vision.
Riding over the desert sands they began to speculate on what would happen when they arrived. Obviously, being men of considerable prominence, they began to take pride in the fact that they would be the first to discover and recognize the new king.
Soon, however, they began to quarrel among themselves. Who would present the first gift? Who would do the speaking? Whose gift had the most worth, would be the most useful, or symbolized the most devotion?
Without meaning to, and yet because they were only human, they became estranged from one another. So many petty thoughts filled their minds that they began to fight among themselves. The night of the first quarrel, the star was gone!
For a time they wandered aimlessly, arguing frequently, despairing alternately. The star had disappeared. So had their hope and enthusiasm. The noble adventure seemed doomed. They became lost and wandering nomads, far from home, with their journey uncompleted, their treasure unshared, their quest unfulfilled.
Then one night, these lost wanderers stumbled on an oasis in the wilderness. Other travellers had already arrived and were gathered about a shallow well that had gone dry. The first arrivals had already used up the little water that was to be found at the bottom of the well, and were now waiting for either help or death.
Then it was that the Magi, with no arguing, but in genuine humanitarianism, brought out their water bags and emptied them into the well that the others might drink.
Suddenly, the bleak camp of despair became a place of hope, hospitality, and happiness.
But the most miraculous thing of all was that, while together, they emptied their water bags into the well, looking down into the water, they saw the reflection of the star.
Once again they found their way. The star they lost in self-seeking, they found again in humility. That which had become obscured by petty pride became obvious again in sacrificial sharing.
A lesson for us all as we enter this New Year? A true epiphany for us as we journey into 2016?