I just love all the imagery of stars that we have at Christmas: star candles, star biscuits, star street decorations, to name but a few. Goodness knows how many stars of varying shapes and sizes I’ve cut out or stuck on Christmas cards this year, and last Saturday, Jo and I were to be found at an Advent Retreat making star fridge magnets!
When we visit our son Jamie and daughter-in-law Dawn in Somerset Levels (their sitting room is under 2” of floodwater at the moment poor things, and for the 2nd time this year) they lovingly vacate their bed for us, and sleep downstairs on the sofa bed themselves. Their requisitioned bed upstairs is under 2 Velux windows in the roof, and I’ll sometimes stay awake for ages with the blind up my side of the bed, just gazing at the stars in wonder…star-gazer…”Let there be light”….God-gazer. Which puts me in mind of the beginning lines of a favourite poem of mine by Malcolm Duncan:
I want to be a God-gazer,
captured by the brilliance
that springs from the radiance
This year I am using a book of Advent readings and meditations from a book by Steve Brady called “The Incredible Journey” He has lifted the title from the delightful children’s book and ensuing Disney film of the same name, where 3 pets travel 300 miles through the wilderness searching for their beloved masters, depicting the suffering and stress of an arduous journey – sound anything like our journey through life on earth? Anyway, I am unashamed to use one of Steve’s chapter titles and some of his facts for this blog!
We don’t know what extraordinary celestial event it was that led the Magi, the priestly court scientists we call the Wise Men to Jesus on the first Christmas, or whether the Magi were astronomers or astrologers, but they were certainly starstruck, and enthusiastic enough to set out on a formidable journey of maybe 500-1,000 miles, following that star that travelled and then hung over Bethlehem at the last, to find a child who was the hope of the world.
In Genesis 1:16 we read “God made two great lights—the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars”. No big deal! Only recently, with the Hubble space telescope have we begun to get our heads round that rather bald statement. Our own Milky Way galaxy has 100,000,000,000 stars, some astronomers asserting its twice that number. And there are at least one hundred billion other galaxies – our God of the Bible is no tin-pot deity as Steve Brady says!
Ps.147:4 says of God “He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name.” However I might play at counting the stars through that Velux window, or fail to know the number of stars on my cards, its beyond human reasoning, and yet God knows the name of every one of them! But the truly wonderful thing is that this awesome and amazing Majestic Creator, whose power and greatness are incalculable, is not too busy or preoccupied to be bothered with little us, or with our heartaches and griefs and losses, for the Psalmist tells us only in the previous verse “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” Wow!