Christmas Star by Mark Jennings
Matthew 2:1-2, 9-10 (NRSV)
In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, asking, “Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage.”
When they had heard the king, 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. When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy.
Luke 1:78-79 (NRSV)
By the tender mercy of our God,
the dawn from on high will break upon us,
to give light to those who sit in darkness
and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the way of peace.
Along my life’s journey, I discovered a Star that does last forever
and his name is Jesus. – T.D. Jakes
To find the child
one must see the star.
To see the star one must go into the darkness,
the pain, the fear, the emptiness,
the hidden weeping,
the heart’s dark wounds.
Only in the darkness
can the be stars seen.
– Steve Garnaas Holmes, To Find the Child
Clearly did Balaam reveal to us
The meaning of the words which were prophesied,
Saying that a Star would rise up,
A Star which would dim all prophecies and divination,
A Star to destroy the parables of the wise,
Their teachings and their enigmas,
A Star much brighter than this star which just appeared,
For He is the Maker of Stars
About whom it was written: ‘From Jacob shall rise up
A newborn babe, the God before time.’
Numbers 24:15-17a (NRSV)
So he uttered his oracle, saying: “The oracle of Balaam son of Beor, the oracle of the man whose eye is clear, the oracle of one who hears the words of God, and knows the knowledge of the Most High, who sees the vision of the Almighty, who falls down, but with his eyes uncovered: I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near— a star shall come out of Jacob, and a scepter shall rise out of Israel…
O star of wonder, star of light,
Star with royal beauty bright,
Westward leading, still proceeding,
Guide us to thy perfect Light
– John H. Hopkins, Jr.
When we realize that we do not have to be clever, powerful or successful in order to be loved, then we can live in truth, come to the light and be led by the Spirit of God.
–Jean Vanier, Drawn into the Mystery of Jesus through the Gospel of John
Moonless darkness stands between.
Past, O past, no more be seen!
But the Bethlehem star may lead me
To the sight of Him who freed me
From the self that I have been.
Make me pure, Lord: thou art holy;
Make me meek, Lord: thou wert lowly;
Now beginning, and always:
Now begin, on Christmas Day.
– Gerard Manley Hopkins
Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that.
Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.
–Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
If the soul is left in darkness, sins will be committed.
The guilty one is not he who commits the sin,
but the one who causes the darkness.
– Victor Hugo, Les Miserables
Every example of goodwill proclaims Christ’s coming. Every genuine outbreak of “Christmas Spirit” speaks God’s blessing. Every gracious act of love, gesture of peace, and inkling of hope proclaims the witness of the shepherds. Each resounding experience of joy cries out with passion the reality of God’s creative and redeeming love. What a dark world this would be without Christ. What an empty festival of winter would remain if God had not so loved this world.
– Derek Maul, In My Heart I Carry a Star
John 1:1-5 (NRSV)
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.
Lord from the beginning of time, light made the difference.
Let your light shine upon us, Lord.
You introduced light by your command and dispelled darkness.
Dispel our darkness, Lord.
Your light is a gift to the world and an answer to our prayer.
May we receive your gift, O Lord.
We come in our darkness, and prefer to remain hidden.
Shine your light upon us, Lord.
Remove our stubborn wills and penetrate our darkness.
Come into our lives with light, Lord.
Let our lives be gifts to you and brightness to others.
Make us shine with your light, Lord.
Fill this place with light eternal.
We will shine for you, Lord. Amen.
– T. Anne Daniel, The Africana Worship Book: Year C
For a worship resource on the theme of God’s Marvelous Light, click here
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