Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying,
“Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we have seen his star in the East, and have come to worship him.”
When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born.
They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea; for so it is written by the prophet:
`And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who will govern my people Israel.'”
Then Herod summoned the wise men secretly and ascertained from them what time the star appeared; and he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found him bring me word, that I too may come and worship him.”
When they had heard the king they went their way; and lo, the star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came to rest over the place where the child was.
When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy; and going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.
And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way.
A king had been born and his people neither knew nor saw the signs.
The birth of most greatness comes without fanfare. And that lack of widespread celebration reduces the distraction of “appearing” great, but increases the attention given to “being” great.
Even those from a distance that see the signs, will first proceed to the familiar places of greatness to enquire about the star. That will be the beginning of your troubles. “Familiar greatness” will worry about disruption, even when the new King is heir to a different kingdom. Luckily, because they lack the eyes to see the signs and are typically too proud to follow those that see the signs, they will try to use cunning to get feedback on where you are. The sole purpose of their need to know will be extermination.
Those that understand this, refrain from bragging about work in progress.
This story actually goes further. If you have the time, read the entire Matthew chapter 2.
The story leads to the Feast of the holy innocents.
That feast holds a special place for me, as it is marked on my birthday.
When you birth greatness – nurture it in private, protect it from fanfare, resist the urge to brag about it, until it is complete. Not perfect, but complete.
Perfection will come after its introduction to the world and it defines a clearer direction, suffers death, yet resurrects.
All greatness dies.
The ones that die early are less painful, because they have made no impact, but they are a greater loss. We miss out on a lot in the world, because we do not get to see all that is possible.
The ones that die after completion, introduction and setting a clearer direction, are more painful, because they have made an impact. We cannot ignore their greatness. We remain thankful. But they are a lesser loss, because they have had the opportunity to show what is possible.
Work quietly, let your greatness speak for itself, after completion.