Early on Christmas morning I received an email from one of my best friends. Included was a picture of a beautiful sunrise he took while on his morning walk in North Carolina. His note to me and others read “May this day be a blessing to you and those you love. Merry Christmas.” Later that day I responded with a picture of an equally beautiful sunset that my family and I had experienced on our after dinner walk two time zones away to the west. My note read, “This is how God ended the same day in Colorado. I hope your day was as joyous as ours.” With our eyes on the same guiding light, my friend and I share the hope that rises with the sun and then dream of the day that will come tomorrow as it sets in the evening.
This brief exchange reminded me that God makes the sun shine and the rain fall on each of us. And on that very Christmas Day, God had shared His light and hope with all – no matter here they were from, no matter how they looked.
Stars of Wonder
Later that evening I walked in the courtyard of my daughter’s condominium. On that cold clear night, the stars shone brightly in the Christmas sky. Among them I could clearly see the constellation Orion – the hunter. I recalled the many times on clear summer nights when I had seen that same assembly of stars over my own front yard in North Carolina, two thousand miles away. I remembered how often I had the feelings of wonder while gazing at the sky..
Now I felt the comfort of knowing that my daughter and I may have the same sense of wonder and perhaps even “wish upon the same star” on any given night. As we look to the sky, with those we know and those we do not, we can share the same view, the same dreams, if we choose.
Earlier on Christmas Eve, from far away, we streamed the worship service at my home church. As many congregations do, our service closed with the singing of Silent Night and passing the light among the worshippers. Our pastor explained, that when a person has their candle lit, they should simply offer that light to the person next to them in order that they might light their candle, too. Perhaps for the first time, I appreciated the significance of singing “Silent” Night while we follow this tradition. As the light is offered one to another, the only words spoken are “the light of Christ”. There is no conversation. There are no questions. There are no judgments or requirements. No “Are you a member of this church? Do you have photo identification? Where do you live?“ The act is just an offer of a common light to a person willing to receive it. Like the light from the sun and the stars, we did not make it, but the light is ours to share. We can all share in the warmth and the glow. We can all share in the love and hope that it represents.
On Christmas Day, through my friend, I was assured that the light of the world shines from the Piedmont of North Carolina to the foothills of Colorado and well beyond. As that sun light rises every day, it gives us all hope for the day. Knowing the light will shine again tomorrow gives us the confidence to pursue our dreams and our purpose. Viewing the constellations encourages us to continue to wonder about the universe, to use our imaginations and make wishes..
The sun and those stars remind me of my alignment with my friends and my family. Reminding me of our relationships and reliance on each other. Reminding me that so many of us have the same view no matter who we are or where we stand. It reminds me we are all part of one big constellation. That everybody is a star. That if we will simply look, we can see the commonality in our lives. If we try, the day will come when we all understand that the light shines on all of us and there is plenty to go around. .
Sharing with the Children
I am fortunate, like many who are reading this, to have that sense of hope and those relationships of support. As the new year begins, one of my wishes is that dads will resolve to bring that sense of hope and provide the supporting relationships to children everywhere. As mentors, through the power of presence, we can be the ones who offer the light to all children – without question or comment; without judgment or requirement – but simply with hope and love to create confidence, fuel imagination and kindle dreams. If we will look with them to see the stars they see; perhaps we can help the wishes of all the children come true.
Beautifully written, as always. I truly appreciate you sharing the tradition at your home church. It reminds of a wonderful quote that says, “A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle”. I think of this often as we strive to pour into and positively impact children beyond our own. The blessing is the work and the difference you can make in another persons life. I love the journey and I thank God for helping me understand its importance.