Over two millennium ago, three Persians set out on a quest. These were the three Magi. Our knowledge of them is slim, but based on the wording we can deduce that these were learned men, skilled in both astronomy and astrology. While we may question the scientific merit of what they knew based on our knowledge now, we should not mistake that these represented some of the finest minds in the world at the time. These men were not Jewish, and we don't actually know what formal religion, if any, they belonged to. They were simply seekers of knowledge and believers in a higher power.
When they set off they certainly did not know what they would find. They firmly believed however that there was a larger, ineffable plan, and that its milestones could be read in a close observation of creation. Specifically, they saw the heavens and all of the stars as God's means of providing them insight into His plan. Therefore, with that faith in their methodology, they had no choice but to put their faith into action and begin following a star.
There is an almost cosmic joke in all of this. These three men who travelled a very long way, had no more knowledge than the astronomers of Israel. They all had access to the same stars, the same raw data. Nor did the three wise men have the advantage of knowing the Hebrew texts, as they clearly needed some assistance from Herod's scholars to narrow down their search. and yet they, and not the king's men, and not the Hebrew scholars, put faith into action and set out.
Where their journey led them is now known to all. In Bethlehem they found the Christ child, coming to earth as an innocent child, born into poverty, but tended by a strong faithful man, and a perfect faithful woman. a model of simplicity that compliments the complexity of the stars that led to it.
The lesson I take from all of this is that there is a grand plan. That the journey is not easy, it is rarely straight, and that some will be simply too blind or too scared to follow. But if we are observant, if we have the patience of the astronomer, we may also see God and His plan in creation. And if we can then put faith into action, we can trust that at the road's end, we will find something good, something simple, something that will change our lives for the better.
In times of darkness, I can take comfort from that, and I hope you can too.