It is easy in the midst of the demands of this season to lose touch with the true meaning of Christmas.

Last Sunday was fourth Sunday of Advent. As we prepared to light the fourth candle on our Advent wreath at church I told the children that all the qualities that are most important at Christmas, the hope, joy, and peace, are contained in the fourth candle. Love is the heart of this Christmas season.

As Jaqueline said in response to yesterday’s post,

Love is ALL of it

As we celebrate Christmas, may our hearts open more deeply to the presence of Love. May we choose to live in the flow of that Love Who shines in the night sky and sustains the deep rhythms of life.

Perhaps the story of “The Christmas Star” may help keep the meaning of Christmas central in your celebration this year. God’s deep blessing to you all this Christmas.

*******

The Christmas Star

If you have ever looked up at the sky on a clear night, you know that the dark sky is full of tiny points of light. You probably know that most of those little lights are called stars. This is the story of one of those stars.

This star’s name was Sally. Like most stars, Sally lived a long, long time ago. She might be still living today but I’m not sure. Sally hasn’t made any special appearances in the night sky for quite a while. But she once played a special star role. And it is that special time in Sally’s life I want to tell you about.

Sally came from a big family. She had six brothers and four sisters.  Sally was the youngest star in her family.  When Sally was only six, her older brothers and sisters were already doing important jobs in the sky or going to Star College to prepare for their careers.  Sally was only just starting school.  She was sad that she could not be helpful and important like her brothers and sisters.

When all of Sally’s family got together, everyone had interesting stories to tell.  They all talked at the same time and made lots of noise (have you ever heard a big family of stars when they get together?) – well  I’ll tell you it can get pretty loud.  Poor Sally would sit in the corner saying nothing, feeling completely invisible.

It was the same at Star School.  Sally was the smallest star in her class.  When the other stars ran out to the playground, Sally was always left behind. When Sally got to the playground, everyone had already chosen partners.  So, Sally was left out.  She would stand by the side of the playground watching the other stars having fun.  They all shone so brightly and happily; Sally felt her light was terribly dim.  She knew that no one would ever give her an important job in the dark night sky.

Sally used to sit by her bedroom window at night and look out at the vast black sky.  She could recognize a few of her brothers who worked near home and two of her sisters shining not far away.

In school Sally learned that far below in a place called Earth there were beings called people who weren’t like stars.  People didn’t shine with beautiful light like stars.  Sally felt sorry for these people who couldn’t twinkle and sparkle, lighting up the sky at night.  But she also learned that the people on Earth liked to look up at night and see the beautiful stars overhead.

Sally knew that it gave people great pleasure to see the stars shining in the sky.  She felt proud that stars could make people happy.  She longed to be able to go out into the sky and shine her light.  But Sally was too small and her light did not shine brightly enough for anyone to notice.  The more Sally thought about how small and dull she was, the more her light grew dimmer and dimmer.

One day, when Sally was standing by the playground at Star School, she heard the principal ask one of the teachers, “Have you heard that Star Maker is looking for someone to do a very special job?”

The teacher answered, “Yes, and they say Star Maker wants a young star for this job.  I would have thought an older more experienced star would be better.”

“I agree” said the principal.  “In fact, I was thinking of applying myself.”

“I am sure you would do a very good job,” replied the teacher.

Just then the conversation was interrupted by the school bell and the rush of stars hurrying into class.

Back at her desk, Sally found it hard to concentrate.  She kept thinking about the conversation she had overheard.  What could this special job be?  Sally knew that all star jobs were given out by Star Maker.  But Sally had never seen Star Maker and no one seemed to know where Star Maker lived or even who Star Maker really was.

The next day in school all the stars were called to an assembly.  The principal stood on the stage and said that there was a special announcement.  “You may have heard,” the principal said, “that Star Maker has an important job for one star.  Star Maker wants a young star to perform this job.  We don’t know quite what the job is but we know that Star Maker is watching all stars to pick just the right one.  It would be a great honor if Star Maker were to choose a star from our school.  So, I want you to be on your best Star behaviour.  Keep yourselves shiny and clean.  Shine your brightest.  Do well in your lessons.  Perhaps Star Maker will choose one of you.”

When the assembly ended, Sally could see her fellow students already shining extra bright.  She was almost blinded by the glare.  Everyone pushed and shoved, trying to get to the head of the line.  Sally returned to class and sat quietly in her usual place at the back of the room.

It was a long tiring day for Sally.  By the time school was over, she felt her light was hardly bright enough to guide her home in the dusk.  She worried that she might actually lose her way.  Sally knew that Star Maker would never pick her for any special job.  She would probably spend her life in some tiny corner of the universe where no one would ever look up and feel joy at seeing her twinkling in the night.

Sally walked along kicking at the ground with one droopy star foot.  Suddenly she noticed something.  There on the ground was a soft glow, like a little shining rock.  Sally bent down and brushed away the gravel with her hands.  She peered at the dim light.  It was a small meteor that must have fallen out of the sky.

Stars hate meteors.  Stars think meteors are always trying to steal their light.  Sally knew that sometimes when people on Earth saw a meteor dash across the sky, they called it a “Shooting Star”.  Stars think this is disgusting.  Sally knew that she should crush this meteor.  She should step on it and put its lights out forever.  Sally thought that perhaps if she killed this meteor, Star Maker would notice and be pleased.  Sally raised her foot to strike.  She looked at the meteor.  But she couldn’t kill this little light lying helpless at her feet.  Instead Sally scooped him up and gently carried him home.

When Sally got home the house was quiet.  She carried the dimly lit meteor up to her room and placed him safely under her bed.  Sally knew that this meteor needed to get back into the sky or he would lose the last of his light and die.

That night, Sally lay awake waiting for the right moment.  When the sky was at its darkest, Sally reached under her bed and cupped the meteor in her hands.  She carried it to the window and stood looking out at the sky.  Sally hesitated, then gently threw the meteor into space.  Sally held her breath as she watched the dull glow of the meteor shoot out into the sky.  At first she thought it would fall to the ground, but suddenly his light started to burn brighter; he picked up speed and climbed into the sky.

Sally stood at her window.  It was late; Sally should be asleep.  She would shine even less brightly than usual if she didn’t soon get to bed.  She thought about Star Maker looking for that special star.  Sally knew that sleepy stars never get picked for anything important.

As she was about to turn from the window, Sally had a strange feeling.  She stopped and looked at the sky.  Sally looked carefully among the stars.  She saw a few meteors dashing about.  As she watched, the feeling grew stronger.  She felt something calling her.  She felt she was being called to follow the little meteor she had saved.  Sally knew that if she didn’t get into bed, soon she would not be able to resist the call from the sky.  Then before she could stop herself, Sally stepped onto the windowsill and leapt out into the dark.  Sally thought she was going to fall.  But then she felt herself growing stronger and before she could catch her breath, Sally was soaring up into the heavens.

The voice that had called Sally seemed to guide her to a special place until suddenly she stopped.  Sally looked around.  Far below she saw something she knew must be the place called Earth.  On the Earth Sally saw creatures she knew must be people.  Sally saw that some of the people were looking up and pointing at her.  They seemed to be following the path Sally had taken when she shot out of her window.  Sally shone brighter and brighter, happy that people were noticing her.  She hoped that she was helping them to feel the same joy she had in her heart this day.

As Sally watched the travelers, she saw that her light was shining on a little shed in a small village.  There seemed to be great excitement around this shed.  People were going in and coming out and Sally saw the fancy travelers who had followed her path approaching the door, carrying splendid gifts.  These travelers looked so important.  Sally wondered why they would bring fine gifts to such a poor place.

Then Sally again heard the voice that had called her.  This time there were words.  The voice said, “Sally, I am Star Maker.  I have chosen you for a special job.  Because you showed love to someone who was weak and helpless, I have chosen you to guide people to the source of love.  Inside that little shed, Sally, lies my Son.  His name is Jesus.  You have shown the way to Jesus so that he might teach people to love.  And the more they love, the more they will shine with the same light that shines in you.  Every year, as people remember this day, light will shine in a special way.  People will remember that it is not being big that is important.  It is not being strong that makes us special.  It is love that makes light shine.  It is love that makes meteors dance.  It is love that comes at Christmas and creates a world of hope and peace.  Thank you Sally for guiding people by your shining light to the source of love in Jesus my Son.”

And that is the story of how Sally the Christmas Star showed the world the way to love.  If we let Sally guide us to Jesus, He will teach us the way of love as well.