We live in a wooded area that is also connected to an established neighborhood. We like to think of it as our very own farm that also happens to be two minutes from the nearest Kroger. It’s the best of both worlds.
If you stand out in the back yard at night and look straight up, you can see the one patch of night sky amid the towering trees. The outline of the treetops against the starry sky resembles the shape of one of my children’s fidget spinners.
Many nights when I’m out by the grill, I lean my head back and stare up at this fidget spinner window. It’s a small section of the sky but you can still make out a few constellations, including the big dipper, and an occasional 747.
There is something comforting and reassuring about the night sky. No matter what your human experiences have been or will be, the planets and stars and galaxies remain fixed. War and peace, joy, sorrow, hope and despair all take place beneath a canopy that keeps watch as generations come and go. Staring at the stars, I am reminded of the faithfulness of God. The same God who brought Abraham outside to show him the stars and who guided the wise men by a star now walks with me under the very same sky and the very same stars.
This year, we are told to watch the night sky for the Christmas Star. It's called the "Great Conjunction," or the moment when Jupiter and Saturn appear at their closest only a tenth of a degree apart. The event is scheduled to take place this year on December 21, which also marks the Winter Solstice. It will be the first Jupiter-Saturn conjunction since 2000, and the first time the planets will be this close since 1623. It will also be the first time such close conjunction has been observable since 1226.
This year, many of our traditional Christmas gatherings have been altered or canceled. Perhaps you can go outside during the week of Christmas and take a moment to look at the stars, breathe in the cold air, stand still in the quiet, and remember God’s faithfulness throughout the ages. He is a God who sees you, knows you, and walks with you in a closeness and intimacy the stars could never know.
When I look at the night sky and see the work of your fingers— the moon and the stars you set in place— what are mere mortals that you should think about them, human beings that you should care for them? Yet you made them only a little lower than God and crowned them with glory and honor. You gave them charge of everything you made, putting all things under their authority—the flocks and the herds and all the wild animals, the birds in the sky, the fish in the sea, and everything that swims the ocean currents. O LORD, our Lord, your majestic name fills the earth! Psalm 8: 3-9