Following a Star by Rebecca Sicree


Following a Star

on the Quest of the Magi & Other Journeys

Walking with my daughters through downtown Bellefonte, a town that prides itself on its Victorian Christmas celebration, we passed a door in a wall down a red brick path. To this day, I cannot recall what drew us closer—maybe I was piqued because we couldn't read its sign from the street. Isabel ran over for a closer look. She wore a puzzled expression when she caught up with us.

"It says Quest Services," she reported. "Whatever that means."

The name fascinated us. Did Gandalf operate a consulting firm? Was an elderly Indiana Jones alive and well and working from central Pennsylvania? Maybe that door concealed a troop of dwarves ready to strike out toward the Edge of the Wild.

"Well," Teresa mused, "now we know who to call if we want to find the Holy Grail."

Fatal Attractions

Today we use the word quest for any lengthy search, even the search for a vaccine made by researchers who never leave their lab. But traditionally a quest was a journey undertaken to find something—or someone—hidden. In myths and folktales, the quest is so dangerous and difficult that success is impossible without supernatural assistance, whether from a goddess or a Grail maiden or just some good fairy. Some quests, like Jason's for the Golden Fleece, were meant to be death sentences.

In real life, quests can still be fatal. In 1925, the British explorer Percy Fawcett vanished, along with his son and his son's best friend, in the Amazon jungles while searching for the Lost City of Z. In the years since, Fawcett became the object of more quests than the City of Z itself. The lost explorers were never found—and neither were all the rescue parties.

So why are quests, dangerous as they are, so attractive to us? Maybe because, as St. Augustine wrote, our hearts are restless until they rest in God. Our lives, whether we realize it or not, are a quest—a quest for the hidden Kingdom of God.

Life Is a Journey

Christ himself gives us buried treasure and the fabulous pearl of great price—both objects worthy of a quest—as images for the Kingdom of God we should be seeking. But when I brought up the idea of life as a quest at home, my daughters all groaned.

Rebecca Sicree writes from Boalsburg, Pennsylvania. She and her family attend Our Lady of Victory Catholic Church in nearby State College. She and her husband Andrew have ten children, six of whom are now adults.

Print &
Online Subscription

Get six issues (one year) of Touchstone PLUS full online access including pdf downloads for only $39.95. That's only $3.34 per month!


Get a one-year full-access subscription to the Touchstone online archives for only $19.95. That's only $1.66 per month!

bulk subscriptions

Order Touchstone subscriptions in bulk and save $10 per sub! Each subscription includes 6 issues of Touchstone plus full online access to—including archives, videos, and pdf downloads of recent issues for only $29.95 each! Great for churches or study groups.

Transactions will be processed on a secure server.

more on Christmas from the online archives

28.6—Nov/Dec 2015

Our Christmas Home

on the Deepest Longings of the Restless & the Lonely by William Graddy

34.6—Nov/Dec 2021

Is Santa Claus Real?

on Faërian Drama & the End of Enchantment by Rebecca Sicree

22.8—November/December 2009

Looking for Wenceslaus

on the Real Men Behind the Christmas Carol by Michael Baum

more from the online archives

18.3—April 2005

Book Worms

on Textbook Publishers Who Lie About Islam by Terry Graves

27.2—March/April 2014

Poetry Above Compulsion

Higher Education Should Advance the Glorious Liberty of the Sons of God by Anthony Esolen

32.2—March/April 2019

The Boy Genius

Finding Him Again Through the Patriarchal Group by Anthony Esolen

calling all readers

Please Donate

"There are magazines worth reading but few worth saving . . . Touchstone is just such a magazine."
—Alice von Hildebrand

"Here we do not concede one square millimeter of territory to falsehood, folly, contemporary sentimentality, or fashion. We speak the truth, and let God be our judge. . . . Touchstone is the one committedly Christian conservative journal."
—Anthony Esolen, Touchstone senior editor

Support Touchstone