by Lori Heine
No matter where in this world we are, the Christmas star shines its light upon us. All of us, without exception. No one is excluded from its light.
When we pray for others, we often feel as if we’re shouting into a void. As if we’re powerless, because there are just so many millions—even billions—of people on the planet. We wonder how God could possibly hear us, or care.
For me—when I press through my sense of helplessness and inadequacy and reach out for God—prayers for other people, or for myself, inevitably become prayers of praise. I may not be able to remember everyone, or to ask for their every need to be met. Certainly I can’t even begin to take care of those needs myself, nor can I even meet my all of my own needs.
But God can.
Many centuries ago, a psalmist was moved to marvel:
Psalm 139:7-12 (NIV)
Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,”
even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.
Maybe that’s what the Christmas star really tells us. Not only that the Magi could see it, and follow it to Christ, but that in Christ, God always sees us. That He follows the starshine to us, wherever we may be.
We can’t envision all that we’ll face in this New Year. As another January arrives, we’re tempted to feel that Christ has departed along with Christmas. During the holiday season, we may have felt God’s presence very powerfully. Now that the tree is gone, and the lights have come down from the eaves, it’s tempting to feel that we’ve packed God away until next December. But God never packs us away.
As I write this, on the twenty-seventh, I’m eating a peppermint candy cane and listening to carols. As a Lutheran-Episcopalian, I follow the liturgical church year. That means that for me, the Christmas Season lasts until Epiphany. But even as the days, weeks and months roll by thereafter, I need Christ’s abiding presence. The star may be down from the tree and back in its cardboard box in the attic. But the glow of God’s love bathes me in its warm light every minute.
I wish you all the happiest of New Years—and a Christmas that lasts all year long.
© 2017 Lori Heine
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