A Christmas Tale

“Grandpa, what do the stars say tonight?” The young boy looked up into the sky. He shivered just a little as the breeze danced through his hair. He shrugged the thin coat higher up on his neck. The old man beside him looked up as well and smiled.
“Well, boy, you see that one in the western part of the sky, the one that is so much brighter than the others?”
“Yes, Grandpa, that one is Jupiter.” The boy was proud of himself for remembering. He and Grandpa have been coming out nightly so that the old man could teach him the language of the stars. Some of the names were hard to remember, but he knew Jupiter was the brightest one in the sky.
“Yes, but did you notice that it is especially bright tonight?” The boy looked again and the star did look much brighter than when they had seen it a few nights ago.
“Why is it so bright, Grandpa?” The more the boy looked at the star, the brighter it seemed, as if it wanted his notice.
“It is bright, because while clouds and storms have been hiding the stars, it joined with another one. My Grandpa told me long ago, that if it ever happened that I should take special note because something wonderful is going to happen.” The old man paused, his hands clasped behind his back.
“Like what?” the boy whispered. There was little in his short life that was wonderful, so just the thought made him breathless.
“Like a king being born.” The old man’s voice was low, nearly too quiet to hear.
“A king, really?” The boy bounced on his cold toes. A king was defiantly exciting, especially since Israel used to have kings before Rome came and killed them all.
“But not just any king, a special king.” The old man wiped his eyes before looking down at the boy beside him. “I have seen these two stars come together three times in the last year. Three times, something neither my grandfather nor his grandfather ever saw. Three is the number of Yahweh, the number of Divine Perfection. When we see it, we are to pay attention.”
“But, Grandpa, what does it mean?” The boy had gone from nervous excitement to quiet wonder.
“It means, my boy, the Messiah has come and while I am too old to know him, you must be on the watch for him in the coming years.”
“But how will I know him, Grandpa? What will he be like?”
The old man thought before he answered.
“Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped. Then will the lame leap like a deer and the mute tongue shout for joy.” The man looked toward the west where the small town of Bethlehem nestled beneath the brightly blazing star. “Pay attention to the teachings of the prophets and listen to the whisperings of your own heart. Then you will know the Messiah when he comes.”
All through the long cold night, the old man and the young boy stood and gazed toward the star. Only when the sun rose and the bright light of the star gave way to the brighter light of morning, did the two turn back to their tent.
Many miles away, in a dim stable surrounded by animals, a tiny baby clung to his mother’s breast.

May the Stars watch over you and the child in the stable bless you. Merry Christmas

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Let It Snow!

I am not a winter person. Having grown up with asthma, the cold is not my friend. Breathing in air that is colder than 35 degrees is difficult for me. With modern medications, life is much easier and I do not have to live such a sheltered life. It was very different when I was a kid and there was no treatment for asthma at all. I would go outside long enough for one slide down the hill or one section of a snowman, then I would have to go inside and struggle to breathe as I  watched my sisters continue to have fun outside. All that to say that I don’t like winter.

But I do like snow, from the comfort of the other side of the window, I enjoy watching the flakes fall. I enjoy watching them land on the cold window pane andwinter wonderland2 copy_edited-1 show off their tiny, intricate shapes before melting into oblivion. Each one different and beautiful in their differences. I love looking out and seeing the trees lined with a delicate tracery of white as if God drew each branch, each twig with a fine white pen. I love standing in the doorway and seeing the kids go out to play in the drifts and slide down the hill behind the house, hearing their laughter ring out in the chill winter air. Then I turn around, wrap myself in a blanket, and pour myself a steaming cup of hot chocolate while I settle on the couch to read.

This past week, we got our first significant snowfall. I watched the flakes fall from the sky to the earth and slowly cover the landscape with a gentle blanket of purest white. I watched the kids slide down the hill, laughed as the dogs rolled and played, and sipped my first cup of hot chocolate. *sigh* another beautiful winter wonderland.

OK, now where’s spring?