What the Star Sees


“Bright Star!  Were I steadfast as thou art!”  John Keats


Since the second day, the stars have been aloft, silent steadfast night watchers.  It overwhelms to think about what they have witnessed, through the years and years what they have seen.

Perhaps the Christmas star has seen the most ~ perhaps it is she who has the stories to tell, she who can provide glimpses, snatches of meaning in the blur of human movement.

She watched a pregnant, teenage girl on mule-back, trudging, toiling heavy toward the foreign city called Bethlehem. “No Vacancy” her only greeting, barn animals to low and bleat her newborn His first lullaby.

Saw two very different kinds of men who knew the stars, studied them and lived with them, these men moving those first nights, journeying with crown and gift, lamb and staff, drawn as one to One, to the brightness of something new.

Angel voices, cherubim and seraphim, warming up, tuning, piercing the night sky, opening the darkness of millennia past and future to sing the long-awaited song of hope ~ the promise of life and life and life to come.

Did the star move too, adjust metaphorically or metaphysically, to actually house itself above a lowly, Jewish stable?  Did she shift her eternal spot to sit above a manger, to guide, to watch?


It seems the Christmas story is about movement, journey, love-paths from here to there.


My brother Eric, Santa-clad, trekking out late, so late on Christmas Eve, Santa-bag filled, at the door of a family who this year most needs a miracle visit, stress-pressed toward unbelief.  Not all years are easy ones, but hope still knocks.

The star sees this.


Homeless fellows in new sleeping bags, asleep under bridges still, but warmer than they were, never knowing that they have Corey and Kim and Kris to thank.  Love still moves.

The star sees this.


A phone call, a Christmas card, a note sent for the first time in many years, a tiny step toward forgiveness, reconciliation, a first act of contrition.  Movements dancing toward restoration.  Someone takes the first dance step.

The star sees.


She watches the comings-and-goings of travelers.  The journey last Christmas Eve to cold Wisconsin to share Christmas morning with the newlyweds, the star watched us slush along the snowy roads, packages piled high in the backseat, Burl Ives’ creamy voice for miles and miles ~ “It’s a Holly Jolly Christmas” ~ hot coffee every stop, warm toes stuffed into lined boots, preparing for unaccustomed snows.

The star reminds us that the journey is the best part of the gift.


She sees the overly busy ~ Romans building empires and post-modern folk doing the same.  No time for worship, no pause, there are too many things to conquer, too many people to overlook, to destroy.

The star knows that quiet does not connote lack of meaning, but most often, just the opposite.


That Christmas we took gifts to the apartment complex and daughter, then so young, asked why the babies had such messy legs and bottoms, and looking, we realized that these babies of poverty were being diapered with the day’s newspaper and Scotch tape ~ Susie’s tearful drive to Walmart to buy every proper diaper those bulging shelves offered.

The star sees all these things, in so many places with far too much regularity.


That coldest of winters when Sally and Larry, mother and son, met the boy Jimmy, now Pastor Jim, and rescued him from the Mississippi shack, falling down it was, no heat, winter wind cold-blowing through floorboards.  A little sister, a simple child, imprisoned in a cold, dark closet, forgotten was she?  All hungry, all dirty, all lost, no parent in sight.  Found them clothes and a proper place to stay.  One survived the nightmare of this upbringing, one did not.

Does the star weep, watching this story over and over through the millennia?


So many questions to ask her.  So much has she seen from her lofty height, steadfast and unchangeable, silent, while we are here below, longing.  For wisdom, guidance, knowledge.  We want to understand.

So I ask.

What happens to those babies, newspaper-clad?

How will the homeless stay warm this winter if there are no blankets brought?

And the poor, the simple children locked in forgotten closets?  No Christmas gift, no salvation for them?  “Are there no workhouses, no orphanages?” Scrooge mercilessly asked, pre-dreams, certainly not alone in the cruelty of this sort of query.

What do I do when people refuse the dance steps of reconciliation?  What if the note is never written, the phone number not dialed, forgiveness remains unasked-for?

Is the world too broken?

How can that be when there is also so much beauty?

Beauty in ashes, hope unbloomed, how is it?


Her answer is soft, quiet.  Answers do come, but so often they arrive on a whiff, a breath, a thought swift-fleeting, missed if not listening closely, closely.

Paradox is at the root of the Christmas story, the star whispers.  Wounded perfection, beauty coupled with trouble, from the beginning a homeless teenage Mother bore the Light in a darkened place, journeyed from known to unknown, carrying Hope.

Do what you can, is the star’s whispered answer.  Take the steps, join the journey, and do what you can.  The world is not too broken and joy does not lie slain.  Indeed, the hearts of Scrooges do soften, Grinches’ hearts can become large.  So do not wait to do what you can.

Prayers are still answered, though oft in ways as varied as the stars.


On the second day the Lord made the stars, and the bright Christmas star has been watching ever since, so many things has she seen, the wondrous and the dreadful.  She sees the terrible beauty of it all.

I open my eyes and my heart and accept the paradox, embrace the journey.

I will try to say with Mary, “I am the Lord’s servant, may it be to me as you have said.”  The pure in heart are blessed and see God because they want to, they are seeking Him, steadfastly, simply.  I want to be pure in heart ~ I want to see God.

It seems the Christmas story is indeed about movement, journey, paths of love from there to here.

Mary did what she could, and I will do the same.

And the star will see.

14 thoughts on “What the Star Sees

  1. Shari, once again your words and the images they paint move me to tears. You challenge me. You inspire me. To have known you for many years, yet to not have known how gifted you are, seems impossible. God is going to use your gift in mighty ways….Of that I am certain! -Kris Leventhal


  2. Shari
    Your example and now your words powerfully point me to real meaning and eternal love. Facing the family challenges we are facing seems to provide an immediate discerning that sifts between shallow words and deep wisdom. Thank you for finding the words that communicate the deep truth your life’s speaks without words.


    1. Sweet Jeanne ~ I understand what you are saying about the dichotomy between shallow words and real wisdom. Please know how we are praying for goodness and health in your family ~ and wisdom and peace and hope. I love you.


  3. Shari, how do you do that? Your words simply paint an amazing picture and literally take me there. Thank you for sharing your gift with us. Love you dear friend!!!


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