Star

A Christmas Story

Her mother told her conception felt like someone lit a candle deep inside your belly. No one could see it or feel the tiny spark, but you knew it was there. Love for your husband, who planted the seed, overwhelms you and you can’t stop smiling about your shared secret.

Mary thought about that conversation as she lay on her pallet looking at the stars. She remembered being surrounded by the greatest love she had ever felt when the angel appeared. It was as if she were walking on air, wrapped in a cloud of light.

She also felt a spark. She knew what the angel told her had come true. But in the darkness, she felt alone. She knew the consequences of becoming pregnant before marriage.

That’s when she noticed it. A star that was brighter than all the others. She had never seen this star before. She recognized the familiar constellations and this star was not part of them. She felt reassured that God was watching over her.

Meanwhile, far to the east, 3 separate men noticed the same star. It confounded the astrologers because they had not seen it before. It was not notated on any of their charts. They got together to compare notes.

When Mary learned cousin Elizabeth was pregnant, she traveled to visit her. Elizabeth amazed her when she told Mary her baby jumped for joy when they hugged. She knew her child was the Son of God. God had a special plan for Elizabeth’s child too.

Before retiring, Mary stepped outside and looked up. Her star had moved with her! It seemed over her head. God was still watching over her.

It astonished the astrologers; the star they had been carefully adding to their charts had moved! All three of them had placed it exactly in the same place on their charts. They started over making new charts.

After 3 months, Mary returned home. Her pregnancy was showing now, but she trusted God and Joseph. The same angel visited Joseph after she shared her news. He told her he would marry her after the child was born. They were legally engaged and it could only be broken through a divorce.

The wise men were stumped. They worked so hard on those new charts and the star seemed to have moved back! How can this be?

There were Jews still living in the east. They were descendants of the ones who decided not to return to Jerusalem after the exile to Babylon. The wise men met with a few of the trusted Rabbis and asked about the star. The Rabbis told them that a Messiah would be born who would become the King of the Jews. The wise men decided to go to Jerusalem to meet this king.

It was a long journey and they were only a few weeks away from Jerusalem when the star started moving again. Discouraged because they had come so far, they decided to keep following the star.

Meanwhile, Mary and Joseph had to leave Nazareth and travel to Bethlehem. Joseph had to go there for the census Caesar Augustus ordered. They traveled slowly. Joseph let Mary rest every few hours because she was near the end of her pregnancy.

The day they reached Bethlehem, Mary could no longer pretend she was aching from the trip. She knew she was in labor. She looked up and the star was still there, directly overhead. God was still overshadowing her.

She longed for a warm place to lie down. But Bethlehem was a small town with only one inn. She could see families camping along the side of the road.

When Joseph led her into the cave she welcomed the waves of heat. There were many animals in the cave and hay stored in the back of it. She gratefully stretched out on the hay mow.

The wise men had enough of following a star that kept moving! They decided to go to the reigning king to see if his heir had been born. King Herod was old and his wife was not pregnant. The wise men asked to speak to some Rabbis. The Rabbis knew the scriptures and told them the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem.

The wise men set out for Bethlehem, relieved that the star had stopped and stayed. It shone brighter than it ever had before.

They found Joseph, Mary, and Jesus under the star. They presented three gifts: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. They camped on the edge of Bethlehem and marveled at the brightness of the star. It was as bright as morning. They had met Jesus, the Bright Morning Star, (see Revelation 22:16).

Matthew 2:2, “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star as it rose, and we have come to worship him.” New Living Translation

Dear Father God,

Thank You for enabling me to conceive three times. Thank You for being with me during the months of bed rest. Thank You for the three gifts you gave to me: Luke, Laura, and Derek. 

In Jesus Name,

Amen

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JESUS WOULD BE CALLED – A NAZARENE

A CHRISTMAS POEM

In the days of Herod, the King of Judea

Was a priest, Zechariah, a son of Abijah,

And his wife, Elizabeth, a daughter of Aaron,

Who had no children, because she was barren.

 

Zechariah was serving as priest before God,

Chosen by lot, according to the Priesthood.

He was to burn incense in the temple of the Lord

While outside praying, worshipers stood.

 

An angel appeared at the side of the altar.

When he saw him he was fearful and he was startled.

“Your prayer has been heard; you will have a son

And you are to give him the name of John.

 

Many will rejoice because of his birth.

 In the sight of the Lord he will have a great worth.

He is never to take fermented drink from the till

From birth, with the Holy Spirit, he will be filled.

 

He will bring back to the Lord the people of Israel

And go in the Spirit and power of Elijah,

To turn the hearts of the fathers back to their children

And the disobedient to righteousness and Godly wisdom.”

 

“How can I be sure, I am an old man?

And for all of these years, my wife has been barren.”

“I am Gabriel, I stand before God.

I have been sent to give you this news that is good.”

 

Now you will be silent, not able to speak,

Until this happens because you didn’t believe.

The people were waiting and wondering why.

But he could not tell them he only made signs.

 

When his time was completed, he returned home,

His wife became pregnant and remained alone.

Elizabeth said, “God has shown me His favor,

Taken away my disgrace from among the people.”

 

Gabriel then went to Nazareth, in Galilee,

To Joseph’s fiancée, the Virgin Mary.

“Greetings, you who are highly favored.”

The angel said, “With you is the Lord.”

 

Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered

“Don’t be afraid, You’ve  found favor with God.

You will be with child and give birth to a Son.

The name of Jesus, you will bestow upon Him.

 

The Son of the Most High, he will be great

And God will give him the throne of David.

Forever He will reign over the house of Jacob

And there will never be an end to his kingdom.”

 

“Since I am a Virgin, how can this be?”

“The Holy Spirit and Power will overshadow thee.

Called the Son of God will be the Holy One,

Ad Elizabeth, your relative, is in her sixth month.”

 

Then Mary said, “Nothing is impossible with God.

I am the Lord’s servant, may it be as you said.”

Mary hurried to Elizabeth’s town;

At Mary’s greeting, the babe leaped in her womb.

 

With the Holy Spirit, Elizabeth was filled

“Blessed are you among women,” she said.

“And blessed is the child that you will bear,

But why am I favored, that you should come here?

 

As soon as your greeting reached my ears with sound,

For joy, the babe in my womb leaped around.

Blessed is she who has believed

That what the Lord said, will be accomplished.”

 

And Mary said, “My spirit glorifies the Lord.

My spirit rejoices in my Savior and God.

He has been mindful of the state of his servant

From now on all generations will call me blessed.

 

The Mighty One has done great things for me

His mercy extends, his name is Holy.

From generation He’s performed mighty deeds with His arm

And scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.

 

From their thrones He has brought down the rulers of men,

Lifted up the humble and the hungry, He filled them

With good things, but sent the rich away empty.

He helped His servant Israel to remember mercy.

 

Elizabeth received a son when she had her baby.

Her neighbors shared her joy and the Lord’s great mercy.

“Zechariah is a great name for a son.”

“No,” his Mom said, “His name is to be John.”

 

“There’s none of your relatives who have that name.”

They asked Zechariah, but he wrote the same.

Writing, “His name is John,” loosened his tongue

Immediately his mouth opened, he began praising God.

 

The neighbors throughout the country of Judea

Talked about the miraculous son of Zechariah.

Everyone who heard this wondered, asking,

“God’s hand is with him, what’s this child going to be?”

 

Zechariah was filled with the Spirit and prophecy

“Praise God He has come and His people redeemed.

For He has raised up a horn of salvation

In the house of His servant, the King David.

 

As he said long ago through holy prophets of His

Salvation from our enemies and those who hate us.

To show mercy and remember His holy covenant

The oath that he swore to our Father Abraham.

 

From the hand of our enemies to rescue us,

And to serve Him without fear to enable us,

In holiness and righteousness before Him all our days,

My child, go before Him to prepare the way.

 

To give His people salvation – sins are forgiven.

Tender mercy of God comes to us from heaven,

To shine on those living in the shadow of death,

Out of darkness to guide us to a peaceful path.”

 

“A census should be taken,” decreed Caesar

And everyone went to his own town to register.

So Joseph went to Bethlehem – A town of David

To register with Mary who was expecting a child.

 

While there she gave birth to her Firstborn, a son,

Placed him in a manger – there was no room in the inn.

Shepherds nearby, watching their flocks by night

Were terrified by angels in glorious light.

 

“Don’t be afraid, I bring news of great joy

To you a Savior has been born – it’s a boy!

Christ the Lord has come and this will be a sign,

Wrapped in cloths, in a manger, a baby you’ll find.”

 

The angels sang, “Glory to God in the highest

On earth peace to men whom His favor rests.”

When the angels had left and gone back to heaven,

The shepherds decided to go to Bethlehem.

 

Mary, Joseph and the baby in the manger was found.

After seeing, what had been told them, they spread it around.

All who heard were amazed what was said by the shepherds

Mary treasured these things and in her heart pondered.

 

The shepherds glorified God for the things they had seen.

He was given his name before he was conceived.

Next stop, Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord

And to offer a sacrifice in keeping God’s word.

 

A righteous and devout man called Simeon

Was waiting for consolation, the Holy Spirit upon him.

He would live to see Christ – it had been revealed.

He was there when the parents did what was required.

 

Simeon took Him in his arms and praised God.

“Dismiss your servant as promised Sovereign Lord,

For my eyes have seen your salvation

In the sight of all poeple, your preparation.

 

A light to the Gentiles for Revelation

And to your people Israel – glorification.”

His parents marveled as Simeon blessed them

And when he shared all that was destined.

 

“The rising of many in Israel and the fall

To be a sign that will be spoken against by all.

So the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed

And your own soul, too, a sword will be pierced.”

 

Ann, the prophetess, a daughter of Phanuel

Never left the temple for she was a widow

But worshiped night and day, fasting and praying

For the redemption of Jerusalem to all who were looking.

 

The virgin will be with child – the prophecy fulfilled.

She’ll give birth to a Son they’ll call Immanuel.

It’s a name which meant – God is with us.

So Joseph gave him the name of Jesus.

 

Jesus was born during the time of Herod, the king

When Magi from the east came to Jerusalem.

“Who has been born King of the Jews? Where is He?

We have come to worship following his star in the east.”

 

King Herod was disturbed, all Jerusalem with him,

“Where is he to be born?” the teachers, he asked them.

“In Bethlehem for this is what the prophet has written,

Out of you a Ruler over all rulers will be sittin’.”

 

Herod secretly found out when the star had appeared

He sent the Magi to Bethlehem to look for the child.

“As soon as you find him, report back to me.

So that I, too, may go and worship and see.”

 

After they had heard the king, they went on their way,

Followed the star to the place where it stopped and it stayed.

When they saw the star they were all filled with joy

To see Joseph and  Mary and her little boy.

 

They bowed down and worshiped and opened their gifts,

Presented him treasured gold, myrrh and frankincense.

In dreaming, were warned not to go back to Herod.

They returned to their country by another road.

 

An angel to Joseph, in a dream appeared.

“Get up, take the child, and escape from Herod.

Go to Egypt, and until I tell you, stay there,

For Herod will search for the child to kill.

 

He took the child and his mother during the night.

To the safety of Egypt, was their perilous flight.

They stayed until Herod’s life was over and done.

The prophet said, “Out of Egypt, have I called my Son.”

 

Herod realized he’d been outwitted, he was furious and blue.

He gave orders to kill the Bethlehem boys under two.

Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled,

“Rachel’s weeping and mourning could not be stilled.”

 

In a dream, to Joseph, appeared an angel,

“Take the child and his mother to the land of Israel,

For those who were trying to take the child’s life are now dead.

Archelous is reigning in Judea in his father’s stead.

 

Stay away from Judea for the sake of safety.”

They went to Nazareth, the district of Galilee.

What was said through the prophets was clearly now seen,

Jesus would be called – a Nazarene.

 

Pamela L. Fishel

12-24-2011

 

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