Christmas songs from the radio filled the silence as we drove along enveloped in darkness only broken by headlights of sparse oncoming traffic on the four-lane highway and the occasional red brake lights of vehicles far ahead of us.
Last night on our way back home after accomplishing some Christmas shopping at a nearby mall, we were tired and ready to call it a night. Traveling along a blank stretch of highway from the more populated area to our rural place, there wasn’t much to see.
Cloud cover even obscured the brightness of the moon and its supporting cast of shining stars. Suddenly, ahead of us a burst of brilliance filled the dark firmament then left a trail of luminescence downward toward the ground.
We both exclaimed, “Did you see THAT?” at the same time.
A falling star. A shooting star. A radiant spot of brightness in an otherwise dull and mundane night. Despite the song emanating from the radio – that “just hear those sleigh bells jingling, ring-ting-tingling too” – my mind immediately launched into an old Perry Como song from the ‘50’s.
“Catch a falling star and put it in your pocket, never let it fade away.”
Back once more in our own reveries, I mulled over what I had just witnessed. Catch a falling star. Catch a falling star. Put it in your pocket, save it for a rainy day. The lyrics to that song kept playing in my mind drowning out the secular Christmas songs still coming from the car radio.
And I thought of that one star. That star unlike any other. The one that suddenly appeared in the sky over 2000 years ago to show that something remarkable had occurred. Something that would totally change our world. The birth of a baby boy named Jesus. That boy who became Savior, God in the flesh of mankind: “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” ~ John 1:14-15 (NIV)
And I pondered how fitting that I should see this shooting star to remind me what Christmas is really about, celebrating the birth of my Savior – the Messiah, Emmanuel, the long-awaited One. The very One we sing about during this Advent season in “O Come, O Come Emmanuel.”
O come, Thou Day-Spring, come and cheer
Our spirits by Thine advent here
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night
And death’s dark shadows put to flight.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.
One shooting star blazing across the night sky reminded me of all of this.
Yes, I’ll catch a falling star and put it in my pocket to keep. And then every time I get caught up in the Christmas madness of shopping for gifts and decorating, of Christmas dinner menus and seasonal songs about everything but Jesus, of tinsel and mistletoe, of sleigh bells and chestnuts roasting on an open fire, I’ll pull that star out of my pocket to remind me of the true meaning of Christmas and I won’t let it fade away.
“Christmas in Bethlehem. The ancient dream: a cold, clear night made brilliant by a glorious star, the smell of incense, shepherds and wise men falling to their knees in adoration of the sweet baby, the incarnation of perfect love.” ~Lucinda Franks