The boys and I stepped outside for an evening walk to a dusky sky framed by retreating storm clouds. They scoured the sidewalk for lizards and bugs while I wrangled the energetic dog. The setting sun took captive the remaining day’s light, and when we arrived home fifteen minutes later, it was nearly dark.
The clouds had disappeared within the shadowy cloak of midnight blue, the first stars illuminating the heavens like Christmas lights. Against the inky night sky, they twinkled and winked the sovereignty of their Creator. We stopped in our driveway to admire the sparkling diamond spots in the ebony sky.
“How many stars are there?” One of the boys asked.
“Lots and lots. Thousands? Millions?” I answered.
“Bajillions.” Chase theorized in his seven-year old way.
“Maybe. I think there are as many stars as God wanted to put there.” I murmured up, up at the vastness pressing against earth.
“He counts the number of the stars; He calls them all by name.” Psalm 147:4
What exactly are the stars our awesome God made? According to Dictionary.com, stars are “any of the heavenly bodies, except the moon, appearing as fixed luminous points in the sky at night.” Wikipedia states that “a star is a massive, luminous sphere of plasma held together by its own gravity.”
For hundreds of years, stars served as guiding lights for weary travelers and markers of changing seasons for hardworking farmers. They were creation’s nightlight long before electricity and God’s sparkling reminder of heavenly places. Calendars were created from stars and rulers made them symbols of wealth and power and splendor.
The boys and I bid goodbye to the sparkling stars that evening and went inside to get ready for bed. Later I was reminded of Jesus, whom the Bible calls the “Bright and Morning Star” (Revelation 22:16). For Christians, Jesus is the luminous fixed point of life and love and God’s amazing grace. Long before His birth in Bethlehem, Jesus’ coming was prophesied by Balaam in the book of Numbers – a Promise, a Savior, and a Warning to those opposing God’s chosen.
“I see Him, but not now; I behold Him, but not near;
A Star shall come out of Jacob; A Sceptor shall rise out of Israel,
And batter the brow of Moab, and destroy all the sons of tumult.” (Numbers 24:17)
A few hundred years after Balaam’s prophecy, three wise men saw the bright star in the Eastern night sky. They traveled to Jerusalem, gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh in hand and hearts set to worship the Christ child. After meeting with King Herod, the bright star shone down again for the Magi, leading them to baby Jesus, Mary, and Joseph in their humble surroundings. Joy filled the three wise men as they worshiped Him and offered gifts to God’s long-awaited Son.
“…the 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 they heard the king, they departed; and behold, the star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came and stood over where the young Child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy.” (Matthew 2:1-2, 9-10)
During the Christmas season, as the days shorten and cool and the bright lights of holiday cheer cover homes and yards, busyness often takes over our lives. It can steal our peace and subdue the joy of Christ’s birth. Among the hectic moments and above the rush of glittering gifts and the onslaught of tailgating traffic, remember to thank God for His goodness and grace given to us through Jesus, His Bright Morning Star.