I have sat through and given my fair share of Christmas children’s messages—that lovely part of the Christmas Eve service where all the children are invited up close to get a small piece of the Christmas story for their very own.
One of my favorite questions the pastors ask the kids is, “What is your favorite part of the Christmas story?” You get the usual spattering of the donkey, Joseph and Mary, or that one smart-aleck kid in the back going, “The presents!”
But you never hear the star mentioned.
You know, the star that’s always out in the back of those little nativity scenes or hanging so haphazardly from a stick or a string over the picturesque holy family? The star, as it says in the story, plays a bit of a back role to all the other characters. The wise men with their fancy gifts! The shepherds and the angels singing, “Glory to God on high!”
The star that was so far up in the sky—shining so brightly—in such a way that it drew the notice of those wise men in their foreign lands.
“Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” [Matthew 2:1-2]
The star. That ball of gas burning billions of miles away.
Psalm 19 says it this way, “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork…Their voice goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world.”
The stars at Christmas tell such a story.
I asked the same question of some friends recently: “What is your favorite part of the Christmas story?” One older gentleman in the back hesitated to answer. When finally I got him to respond, he said, “The star.”
I asked him why.
“Well, we celebrate Jesus at Christmas. The coming King. Immanuel. Immanuel means, ‘God with us.’ The stars are up there still, telling us of Immanuel—that He is still with us, that He came on that night to rescue us, to bring us back to Him. My favorite part is the star. I am always reminded of the Creator of the universe being born to save us all.”
I pray this Christmas that you can look up in the sky and see the reminder left for us: The star, God with us.
What is your favorite part of the Christmas story?
Jess Ranostaj is the Doctor’s next companion. Well, not really, but a girl can dream, right? When she’s not preparing for a journey in the TARDIS, she spends time with her loves: Jesus, the dog, books, cake, and kendo. She works all over DFW, from IT computer support to graphic design to youth ministry. Originally from Houston, Jess has been a youth minister at various times over the past 5 years and currently serves with Water’s Edge in Allen, Texas. Despite the many attempts by well-meaning old church ladies, Jess is still single and loving the journey!
Photo credit: MatthiasRhomberg