Look East

A Story of Christmas Yet To Come

Race Point is the easternmost I’ve ever been— in fact, it’s just about as eastward as you can get in the States, at the fingertip of Massachusetts’s arm. It was a strange thing to stand with all North America behind me, to face the horizon of sea, to get my dress whipped by the east wind, to be the only living thing in sight besides gulls and seals. In fact, that entire trip was a stretching of my senses; a landlubber’s journey out of the Midwest, where oak trees shrank away to long beaches at the edge of the world. It made me a little dizzy.

One night after dinner, I walked down to the inlet at the end of our street. Darkness was coming on, the waters were slapping and clapping, and the only light came from far across the bay, blinking white. A lighthouse.

I didn’t have any profound thought just then. The night before, I’d walked the shoreline with Dad, who asked what I’d been thinking about when he caught me looking out on the water. I said, “Not much, really. I’m too busy looking at it all.”

And so I looked at that distant light for a long while. I didn’t think or feel much, but night after night, I looked and looked and kept looking eastward.

Of course, were I a ship at sea, I wouldn’t just look east, but I’d fly the sails and head toward the light. You don’t just look at the only hope of your salvation; you throw in both oars and make out for it as best you can. That’s what the wise men did. They looked and looked and kept looking eastward until a light appeared, and then they gave up everything to go after it. They had studied the prophecies and watched the sky, and the only thing left to do was move toward the Star in the East, the Light of the World.

“Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD has risen upon you. …And nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising.”

~ Isaiah 60:1-3

And aren’t we in the same boat as the wise men, not too far off the coastline? The Light came down, John says, and he’s coming again. Revelation calls him the Bright Morning Star, which means he’ll be the first thing to glimmer on the eastern horizon, burning whiter than the planets, coming up across the water in the radiance of his glory.

In the meantime, ours is the quest of the wise men. Night after night, we look and look and keep looking eastward, always moving toward that Light.

“While I can, I sail east in the Dawn Treader. When she fails me, I paddle east in my coracle. When she sinks, I shall swim east with my four paws. And when I can swim no longer, if I have not reached Aslan’s country, or shot over the edge of the world into some vast cataract, I shall sink with my nose to the sunrise.”

~ Reepicheep, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

2 thoughts on “Look East

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