The “T-P” STAR
Posted in Disappointment
SCRIPTURE: “Wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, asking, ‘Where be the Child that has been born King of the Jews? For we have observed His star at its rising and have come to worship Him.’…They set out, and there ahead of them, went the star that they had seen at its rising, until it stopped over the place where the Child was and they were overwhelmed with joy… They saw the Child with Mary His mother and they knelt down and worshiped Him.” – Matthew 2:1-2, 9-11
I’ve always been sort of a Christmas elf. It was natural. My mother never lost sight of the real reason for the season, but she was “all in” on the “festival” that surrounded Christmas. That early history helped me find a comfortable place that actually celebrates “Christmas,” in the midst of, or in spite of, the holiday-on-steroids atmosphere of the annual secular season.
One of my fondest memories of those “days long ago” was the tree trimming finale of topping the real Christmas tree with the star of Bethlehem (not some fancy ornament, not an ornate angel… a simple, shiny star).
Years later, my, then, young family had completed our tree trimming and approached the ceremonial finale only to discover that our fragile star had not survived intact the year in storage. The disappointment was palpable – especially to me. Late in the evening. No star! We had to improvise.
The substitute was created by cutting out a cardboard star, attaching it to a toilet-paper roll, then wrapping the star and its holder in shiny aluminum foil. The roll was slipped onto the peak branch at the top of the tree and — Voila! — a Christmas star was born. The tree lights reflecting off the foil created a quite satisfactory twinkle.
Upon reflection, it occurred to me that our “plan B” star resulted from an unexpected necessity not unlike the improvisation required at the original Christmas. Joseph and Mary did not plan to spend the night in a stable, but the inn was full. On that night, the star shone down on the substituted, makeshift birthplace/nursery. The unexpected course of events at that time and place was not planned in the way that it rolled out, but it was neither the time nor the place that was important. The altered accommodations did not affect the course of human history; Jesus’ birth did. A hectic, unorthodox natal scene did not alter, deter, or seemingly interfere at all with the real significance of that first Christmas. The inconvenient details were coincidental. Christ the Savior was born. That’s all that mattered to a sin-sick world.
In today’s world, we may get distracted by minutia and by clamor, glitz, and glamor, but we cannot allow ourselves to lose sight of the ultimate reason and significance of Christmas. “God so loved the world that he sent his only begotten Son, not to condemn the world, but to save the world” (John 3:16).
My family wanted our own traditional star, but made do without a fancy one. Jesus could have been born in more suitable accommodations, but he didn’t demand or require it. “Christmas” comes, despite our vain desires, wants, and imagined needs. Christmas is Jesus coming to us, to save us and to complete us. That is God’s gift to us. It is enough.
PRAYER: Loving God, we so often fail to acknowledge or understand that you have given us yourself. Thank You. AMEN.
Submitted by Bobby Fuller