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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Seeing dimly

Last night I went out to the kennel to bring the dogs in for the night. I looked up and saw a panorama of stars above me. You must understand, I have poor vision and even with glasses and contacts I can not get 20/20 vision. I have seen pictures of the stars that others see and I wonder if we are looking at the same sky. Last night the sky was so clear I could just glimpse a hint of the dimmer stars that I can seldom see. I walked to the kennel with my eyes fixed above me drinking in the sight.
I tried to do the same on the way back in, but leading 3 dogs, one of them still a puppy, on leashes in the dark is not conducive to stargazing. Later that night with my contacts removed and my glasses resting on the dresser, I looked at the blob of light that is the alarm clock beside me. I lay there and dreamed of the someday that I will arrive in heaven and my eyes will be whole. I will be able to see clearly for the first time in my memory. On that final day, we will all see clearly. Even those with perfect vision on earth can see only dim reflections of heaven.
Like Paul when he writes in 1 Corinthians 13:12; ‘Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face.’ (Remember that in those times, a mirror was merely a polished piece of metal, usually bronze and generally rather small.) Last night I caught a glimpse of the majesty of the night sky. Someday I will see it in all its glory, but it will pale beside the wonder of the God who created the heavens and the earth.