Saturday, December 05, 2009

OF STARLIGHT


I am not alone at all, I thought. I was never alone at all. And that, of course, is the message of Christmas. We are never alone. Not when the night is darkest, the wind coldest, the world seemingly most indifferent. For this is still the time God chooses.

Taylor Caldwell

When I was growing up, our family had a red tree topper.  It was a tall spire with an open globe stuffed with angel hair.  Each year we would find it packed away in our little attic.  We always took it from hibernation, and put it in its proper place atop our prickly tree.  Finding the red swirly object was not my favorite part of tree-trimming.  I was never too happy with the spire.  Not that it wasn't pretty; it was truly quite elegant, but it just never said "Christmas" to me.  I wanted a star.  In my childlike faith, a star said "Jesus."

One Christmas season, my parents noticed the red spire's beauty waning.  Its angel hair had thinned, its plastic had begun to crack, and its paint was chipping.  A new topper for our tree was added to our shopping list, and it was decided that we would buy a star.  So, we went star-shopping and brought home a lovely five-point symbol made of gold tinsel and colored lights. 

I could not wait to see it crown our little artificial Scotch Pine tree.  At last, when I did see the gllittery star settle on the tip-top branch, I was elated to see it glow brightly with joy of Christ's birth.    

Several weeks ago, when we had the fire incident, we lost our Christmas decorations.  I have thankfully been able to salvage the sentimental items.  I do not know if they can be cleaned and used again, but they will be kept!  I could never let go of paper snowmen made in a kindergarten class, a little handprint engraved with "Steven," a clothespin angel with "Chris" written on its back, and homemade felt frames and clear, acryllic-shaped trees sprinkled with glittery images of my sons within.  No Way!!!  Though they are sooty and smoky, they will at least be stored with our most precious family belongings. 

Included in our sooty collection of Christmases past is a tree topper.  It is not a star.  It is a lighted angel dressed in ivory tafetta with beautiful white wings edged with gold glitter.  As a family, we always enjoyed the angel atop the tree.  It reminded us of the proclaming of Christ's birth to the shepherds and the rejoicing of the heavenly beings as they recited, "Glory to God in the highest."

With the loss of our angel topper and other Christmas ornaments, my husband and I decided that a shopping trip was in order.  We knew our temporary apartment home would never feel like Christmas without a tree and trimmings, so Jeff  and I ventured to Walmart Thursday night and bought an inexpensive pre-lit tree, gold and red glass balls, sparkling snowflakes, and twinkling crosses, and tiny little angels.

And, yes, we bought a star to place atop our new tree.  It seems made of iron and is covered in gold with clear lights embedded within.  It will glow with joy, just as the tree topper did in my childhood Christmases. 

After buying our new Christmas decor, we meandered around our city.  I noticed no stars visible in the heavens.  It was quite overcast here in northern Alabama, and fog had settled into the Tennessee Valley.  Surveying the starless sky led my thoughts to the star, the shining heavenly ornament that graced the heavens and announced the birth of our Savior over 2000 years ago. 

The real star of Bethlehem was an amazing sight!  It brought awe and "exceeding great joy" (Matthew 2:10) to the wise men and other seekers when they beheld its glory in the heavens over Judea.  That stunning celestial body proclaimed the path to a king, the King of all kings, Jesus, the Messiah.  Though much speculation is made about its cosmic components, the nitty gritty of its make-up matters little.  What really matters is the spiritual significance of the star.  It is beautifully powerful.  Its prophetic praises move my soul.

For those in ancient Judea, its shining was a testimony of the One, real Light Who had come into a dark, depraved world.  Our Savior, the Son of God, the sinless One, came to sinful earth to suffer, to be our Redeemer, and to rescue us from evil and death.   

Our personal, kinsman Redeemer, Jesus, the Holy and Anointed One, the Son of the living God was then proclaimed, is now proclaimed, and will forever be proclaimed Savior of the world. 

The Greek word for Savior is Soter, and the Greek word for save is sozo, which means to protect, heal, preserve, to make whole.

Christ came to save you, and He came to do even so much more.  Being saved is only the beginning, and the depth of the Greek word sozo reveals God's dynamic plan for your abundant life.

We are saved by grace through faith.  We are saved, delivered from our sin and brought to the kingdom of God's light.  We no longer have to fear dying and going to hell.  We are no longer slaves to sin.  We no longer have to settle for isolation, intimidation, and incompletion.  God, in His sovereignty, is in control of our lives. 

He gives us great promise for our earthly journey.  He gives us a pathway to an abundant life of healing.  Jesus delivers from turmoil and leads us to peace and wholeness. 

"To make whole" is not only to be delivered from sin, but also it is to be brought to completeness.  Jesus came to this world not just to purchase our souls, but to heal our lives, to mend our broken hearts, to give us a sound mind, to give us abundant living:  Love.  Joy.  Peace.  Patience.  Kindness.  Goodness.  Faithfulness.  Gentleness.  Self-control. *

The star, the heavenly symbol placed in the heavens to give divine proclamation of the birth of the King, also glowed with the greatness of God, illuminating lives in ancient Judea, and it remains today in our hearts, leading us to the truth and riches of God's kingdom. 

Yes, today, the star of Bethlehem shines.  The star is still ours to behold.  It remains visible in our souls.  It glows unhidden, uncloaked by our Creator.  Shining forth, giving light, and telling truth to all who will look upon Him.  Jesus Christ, Emmanuel, the Light of the World, our Savior, is present with us to bless, to heal, to deliver, to make whole. 

Yet not everyone looks upon the Star.  Many refuse to see Him at all.  And not everyone who does look upon Him believes.  Not everyone who sees Jesus sees a Savior.  Some see Him as an interuption in their busy holiday plans.  Some see Him as a controversial icon.  Some see Him as a wise teacher worthy of quoting.  Some see Hin as a simple carpenter wtih great ambition.  Some see Him as a madman.  Some see Him only as a man who somehow made history.

How do you see Him today?  When you see a Star adorn a tree, when you look into the heavens, when you hear "Jesus" spoken, when you read His words, when you hear, "Merry CHRISTmas," What do you really hear?  Whom do you really see?  Do you see Him for the King He is?  Or do you see Him in obscurity, unsure of His power, beauty, and grace?

As a Christian what does your soul bear?  What do you want from Jesus?  What thoughts make your heart burn with burden?  What is lodged in your spirit like a seed in your tooth?  What mountain holds you back from shining as God's child?

Does peace seem impossible?  Does exceeding joy seem elusive?  Does holy vision seem blurred?  Does something feel broken?  Do you need, dear friend, "to be whole"? 

Jesus is the Star who eternally shines with healing power!  And, . . . healing love!

Reach out to Him and grasp the love He has for you this season in your life.  Christ's love will make a miracle out of the mountain that stands in your way.  You can remember this Christmas as the time your life changed forever.

How?  By five simple steps:  1) look up to Him as the shining Savior; 2) humble yourself before Him, proclaiming Christ as Lord over all your life; 3) pour out your heart to Him, telling the Lord your deepest thoughts, fears, and needs; 4) praise God for His great love for you and personal intervention in your life; and 5) stand in faith, waiting patiently for His work, coninuing in an attitude of praise.    

As Christians, we feel the conflict of perfection and carnality.  In our hearts, we long to please God; yet, being human, living in a fleshly temple, we make mistakes.  We mess up.  We sin.  We go through depression.  We get discouraged.  We deal with imperfect thoughts.  We feel alone.

But, we are not alone because we all go through these struggles.     

Yet, we do not give up!!!  We turn to Jesus!

Look on Jesus today!  See His Star that proclaims truth to all nations and to all people and to you!  By believing Him, through trust in His name, by following the path that proclaims Him Lord of All, you, too, will be like those of ancient Judea and everyone who calls on His name.  As you receive His abundant life and allow His authority to rule your heart, you, dear friend, you will rejoice with hope and "exceeding great joy"!



*The fruits of the Holy Spirit, Galatians 5:22
Research is from e-sword. 

37 comments:

  1. I love your post today. I remember when I first was married about 33 years ago, my young husband accidentally threw out my chilhood christmas decorations. My favortite angel topper was gone. Every Christmas I think about that.I did replace her with a star, and your post is really special to me. Glad to know you and yours are o.k.

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  2. I am so sorry about the loss of such treasured items ... I cling to all memorabalia & would be devastated. So glad to know that you are all fine, tho. What is your address, Andrea, I have something I'd like to send you.

    Write me ~ blushing_rose_boutique@yahoo.com

    Your write today is wonderful. TY for sharing.
    TTFN~ Marydon
    Join us at our new blog ~ blushingrosetoo.blogspot.com

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  3. Beautiful post from a beautiful heart. He is indeed shining brightly all around me!

    Blessings, andrea

    PS: You have an award on arise 2 write.

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  4. Thank you for this post today Andrea. It spoke to my heart in so many ways.
    I'm also sorry for the car incident as that must have been scary. Fire has always been my worst fear, and yet I know that He has not given us a spirit of fear.

    I hope you have a very blessed weekend ;-).
    Cori

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  5. Dearest Andrea,
    This will be a very different Christmas for you for sure, but may it be a blessed one with sweet new memories in the making.

    Praying for your husband's procedure.
    God bless you all,
    d

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  6. Hi Andrea!
    Just today our Birdie (she's two) was watching her mama make a star. She started singing, "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" right away. In the early morning less than two weeks ago, when Samantha Rose came into the world, the stars were absolutely stunning. I was up early waiting and went out in the cold night, looked up, felt so thankful. Thank you for this thoughtful, faith-filled post. I'm hunting for more stars, making sure I look at stars a lot this December. When will you be back in your home?

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  7. Andrea:
    Your posts always require me to be still for a few minutes. I don't want to miss anything, and there is so much good 'food' in these writings. Again today, as you remind us of THE STAR... which of course blesses me when I think anew on all that it means, for you, for me, and for all of us who are His. Thank you for another beautiful writing.
    I will continue to pray with you, through all of the details of this chapter in your lives. I know this is a December you will not soon forget!
    Love you my friend,
    Sonja

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  8. Your message is so beautiful, Andrea. If my niece hadn't worked so hard to put the bow and spire on the top of our tree just days ago I would have been on my way to buy a start TODAY! Next year for sure. I've almost always used a star, just couldn't find one to fit our tree.
    Thank you for stopping by Ladybug Creek.
    Love,
    Karen

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  9. As I read along, I couldn't help but think of the verse from Isaish 61:1-3:

    The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the LORD'S favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion —

    TO BESTOW ON THEM A CROWN OF BEAUTY INSTEAD OF ASHES, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.

    From the ashes: beauty. What a great & precious promise!

    While I have never detected even a hint of despair in your writings, I know this must be a particularly difficult & challenging season. It blesses (and humbles) me greatly to read of your delight in the simplest of the season's joys.

    Then again, I am not surprised in the least. The light from your parlor goes wherever you go.

    Huge hug,
    Kathleen

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  10. I am so glad you have your star again. For me that star is the essence of all that this season means.

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  11. Andrea, you are such a God-gifted writer. I am so sorry for the loss of your precious items. I can only imagine how difficult it would be to experience the Christmas season after a house fire. We had many wildfires here in Southern California this year (and every year). There are many families experiencing something similar. But you have your treasure in the right place. You know it's not in your belongings, no matter how sentimental they may be. It's in Him. And because of that, you will have a wonderful Christmas.

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  12. Andrea,

    This is so beautiful! As I contemplate your words this second Sunday of Advent I hope to strengthen my faith and my service to our Lord. Thank you:).

    Blessings,

    Kim

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  13. To me a star means Bethlehem and all which followed, but then I'm lucky to have a father who taught us early about the things which really matter, and in such a way that believing comes as naturally to us as breathing. I was in my late 20's before ever I realised the blessing he is.
    And when I look into the night sky it just means awe and praise to me- who could look at the heavens and not be awed?

    I somehow missed the post about the fire. I'm so glad that all is well with your family, the important part of your life. I'm sorry for the damage, the items you've lost, the stink of smoke and the repairs to be done. You are some amazing person though, it comes through in the way you write about events. I'm thankful for you and your courage- though to yourself it's probably more endurance!

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  14. Not long ago, my children and me did some star-gazing at night, which led to an incredible time of story-telling, not about Bethlehem but about Abraham.

    I love God's night handiwork; it speaks to me of beyond, of something greater, someOne grander! So thankful for a night's witness to a Father's creative genius.

    Thankful for your tree this year, despite the soot that remains. I've thought in recent days that I would like to get a new star/angel for the tree. Currently, we have an angel in red. All looks beautiful from where I'm sitting this evening.

    Thanks for being my friend and a constant source of encouragement to me.

    peace~elaine

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  15. I love the meaning of Sozo and the reflection of our savior and all that He is. I, too, have been concentrating on the fruits of the Spirit and thanking God for them. All we have to do is choose them.

    May your apartment be filled with the joy of the Lord this Christmas season. I know this is an unsettling time for you, but you are handling it beautifully. Blessings to you, dear friend!

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  16. How thankful I am that Star shines through the darkest night.

    Blessings,
    Debra

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  17. I love this post. It's those sentimental ornaments that give a tree its meaning.

    When I see the stars of heaven this time of year, I hear the angels singing--lighting up the sky brighter than any star.

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  18. I enjoyed reading about your "star" and the memories it brought back to you. Memories are such a big part of our lives. Regardless of what some think, HE is still our star today! Bless you!

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  19. What a wonderful message of hope! What a genuine testimony to the eternal values that accompany eternal life!

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  20. This is a wonderful Christmas post. I am so thankful that * God * sent his only son for us, and that we will never be alone. May the star that shines over Bethlehem shine upon you!

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  21. You have another award on arise 2 write.
    andrea

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  22. My dear friend,

    Your words have brought tears to my eyes. You have placed importance, where it is due...On Him alone.

    "In Christ alone, I'll put my trust!"

    How beautiful to know that His star continues to shine.

    I also, like many of us, have placed value on items that hold so many memories. But you have shifted my focus to HIM alone!

    Thank you dear one for your wise words!

    Merry Christmas!

    "Jesus is the Star who eternally shines with healing power! And, . . . healing love!

    maria

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  23. Beautiful Christmas post...my family had a gold tree topper similar to the one you described with angel hair inside...I remember wanting a star, too...

    Your loss of treasured decorations is great, but the memories they invoked can never be taken away...

    Our Treasure of heaven that shines so brightly can never be taken away either...we can only lose Him if WE turn away...blessings to you and your family this joyous season!

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  24. Dearest Andrea~
    Thank you for penning these precious
    words... You have inspired me!
    And~ like always it is a JOY
    to visit you~ dear sister in the Lord!!!

    Love in Him~ Miss Jen

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  25. I loved this post. I am so sorry about you losing your christmas treasures.

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  26. A great post and of course it is the little things like Christmas decorations that brings home just how tragic it is losing things in a fire. for those without faith it must be devestating.

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  27. Andrea, I am so very sorry about the loss of your Christmas treasures and am so thankful that you are OK.

    Your post took me down memory lane of a Christmas tree toppers in our family. Growing up we had a 5 pointed silver tinsel star with multicolored lights. It was beautiful. Like you, I just thought it fitting that a star should be at the top of the tree. Some of my favorite ornaments are ones that our children have made too.

    Blessings to you dear one.

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  28. How did I miss the reading of your fire? I'm sooo upset. :( I must go back and read what I missed.

    Even now the hand of God is protecting you and your family. He does not allow what we cannot bear.

    Reading of your Star made me tear up. God is so faithful to us, ever guiding, ever leading us back into His presence.

    Love to you~

    Rebecca

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  29. Just dropping into the parlor to leave off some cookies and a hug. I'm taking away a little light as I leave. I hope you don't mind?

    Blessings and peace and health,
    Kathleen

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  30. What a hope filled post this is, Andrea... indeed you are right in saying that being saved is only the beginning! There is so much more! And what better way to depict this hope of being steadily redeemed and renewed than by a star? A star speaks of so much light, coming from thousands of light years away, it is a source so hot, and so bright, we would burn up immediately if we came near! But Jesus is a star that reflects to us the light from the Godhead in a way that would not kill us, but rather point us to the Father as the source of our life, our sustenance, our joy, our strength, everything we need.

    Thank you for this post!

    Love
    Lidj

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  31. Oh Andrea, how difficult it must be for you to have to start all over with ornaments and such. But yet the brightest and most beautiful ornaments are your family, shining brightly like a light on a hill.

    God bless you, and may you have the most glorious, most God-filled Christmas ever!

    Love,
    Debby

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  32. I have spent the afternoon just doing a little shopping but soon felt a little disheartend, there is so much pushing and rushing around for our Christmas gifts I soon came home. But them I spent a moment reading your post and now I feel warmer inside, you reminded me of how we should be thinking at this time of year. Thank you Andrea, may you be happy and safe. best wishes Julie.C

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  33. Another quick visit to see what's up in the parlor. Since the light's on, I imagine you'll be arriving soon. There's always light here.

    Thinking of you today, and praying. I hope you're having a lovely, peace-filled Christmas season.

    If there's anything I can do while you're re-building (on oh-so many levels), please do let me know when & how.

    Hugs, and Merry Christmas,
    Kathleen

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  34. Andrea,

    So glad you left the light on for me.

    His light.

    In my heart.

    Light of the world.

    Will never leave us. Never forsake us.

    Taking a little time to worship Him.

    Thank you for this opportunity.

    Merry Christmas!

    Sweet dreams.

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  35. 1Peter 2:9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people, that ye should shew forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvelous light!
    Thank you for sharing and Merry Christmas!

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  36. your post is really special to me. Glad to know you and yours are o.k.
    Work from home India

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  37. beautiful post. have a wonderful and safe and happy holiday.

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Thank you for visiting. I cherish your thoughts. You are special to me, but most of all, you are special to God, who loves you with everlasting love. May your life be swept into His joy and peace.

In the Wonderful Love of Christ our Savior,

Andrea