There are more than a billion stars in the sky. I don’t think there’s an accurate way to count every single star that exists in the galaxy. So when I hear the story of the Star that guided the wise men to baby Jesus, it’s kind of difficult to fathom just how bright that star really was. I think one of the best examples of brightness in the night is just after a crisp snow, where the moon is glistening on the ice and snow banks. The light from the moon often reflects to where you can see at night. It’s a strange feeling. You are aware of the night and in some respects can see as the animals do for just a brief period in time.
I’ll admit it. I love looking at the stars. There’s something peaceful about how the sky is full of planets and stars. It’s almost like a blanket that covers the soul. Sometimes the blanket doesn’t seem very warm and other times it holds all kinds of mysteries and stories yet to be explored. Then there are stories in the skies that have been told. No matter what you may think of the stars in the sky, there will always be stories that have stood the test of time. Perhaps that’s why the Little Drummer Boy story is one of my favorites.
I love the thought of hearing The Little Drummer Boy playing to the Baby Jesus. My mind can almost envision how the scene really occurred. He had no gifts to bring except his talent. His talent was his star. He was able to do something that others weren’t. He gave the gift of music. His love for this little baby shone through in every beat he played, his name wasn’t in lights but his gift was shown in a star fashion. Because of his gift, his legacy lives on throughout history.
Music and the arts are full of stars and not the kind that show in the sky. It doesn’t matter how much of a star someone may seem. They are really no different than anyone else. The biggest difference is a quality that makes people want to recognize them more than others. In truth, I don’t really think that actors and musicians can really be called stars because most of them don’t last in the business for decades and the few that do are often referred to as divas or jerks. There may be a lot of truth to this for some of them. But what really makes someone a star? If you go off of looks, then looks fade over time and the ones who manage to continue to look beautiful usually pay a lot of money to keep looking that way. What’s interesting to me is that what we consider stars in the entertainment/music/art/athletic world, is not necessarily a star. A person can be well known and labeled a star but rarely do those celebrities manage to maintain their status. That’s why so many who were once famous fall in the category of not being able to maintain their star status. It’s unpredictable as to the duration of celebrity status. I think that’s one of the reasons that I think our solar system has the impact that it does. Unlike the short life of celebrities, stars in the sky live much longer. Our stars in the sky have a life cycle just as all of us do. You don’t see red carpet entries by the stars and I can guarantee you that if the stars in the sky could talk, they would reveal secrets to us that only they know. Many stars have seen the sinking of ships, the devastating traumas that have been inflicted in this world. They know the stories to questions we have asked and don’t have all the answers to.
Do you ever think about the Wish Upon a Star song? I’ve always heard to make a wish to a shooting star and my wish would come true. I’ve wished on shooting stars and my wishes didn’t come true but I like to believe in the power of wishing. I remember being on a camping trip when I was with the Girls Scouts in what feels like a hundred years ago, even though it’s only been more like 40 years. We were camping at night and there were a couple of girls who decided to take one of the trails on a night hike. We snuck out of our tent and off we went. We didn’t get far. I think we may have taken about a hundred feet until one of the girls heard something in the woods and got scared. Since we were in the buddy system, we all retreated. I have no idea what it was. All I know is that we were on a trail lit by the moon and stars and the reflection was something out of one of those creepy horror flicks that makes your skin crawl. We all heard what sounded like something running in the woods but it could have been a squirrel or something small. We didn’t stick around to find out and all of us went back to our tents and didn’t talk about it again. I think we were all afraid we would be found out for sneaking out and then afraid for what ever lecture might be coming our way.
I remember going on my honeymoon with my then husband to the Outer Banks. We were on a ferry to get to the Outer Banks and the stars were out. It had been a long week and we were glad to be coming home. I don’t really remember which one of us woke up first. I think it was him when we realized that the ferry was ready for us to leave but I do remember it was dark when we got on that ferry. And I remember there weren’t many stars in the sky. It was very early in the morning. I just remember thinking if there were any Guardian Angels in the stars could they please watch over us to let us get off the ferry without sinking? I know it was a dumb thing to think but I’ve always been a little wary of the water. I can swim and am a pretty good swimmer but that doesn’t mean I don’t have fears.
I remember summer nights, hanging out with friends where we were sitting on the back of a pickup truck watching the stars, drinking beer, laughing, joking around and just chilling with each other. Several of us decided to go to watch the movie Twister at a Drive in Movie theater. It was pitch black dark and not a star in the sky. As the Twister movie played, the scene where the tornado decides to rip through the drive in came on a my friend Jason looked up at the sky where the winds were picking up rapidly as he exclaimed, “Great, a tornado rips through the drive in movie on the screen and it could do the same thing here.” I think every single one of us rolled laughing. Just the way he said it was something to be remembered. I asked him later what he thought about tornados and he said that he tried not to think about them. Tornados are no laughing matter when they hit but in that moment, it was a lighthearted joke that lightened the mood.
There’s something about the stars in the sky that brings a peace and solitude that’s difficult to capture in words. Some of us allow the moments to reflect on what’s important in our lives and some use those moments as inspiration. There are many of us that look to the sky because we believe our loved ones are looking down on us and we really want some kind of sign to know that we aren’t alone so when we see movement in the sky, perfectly timed with our request, it brings many of us a peace that is indescribable. Sometimes, I’ll go on the deck and sit in the swing with a cup of hot chocolate and look up at the stars and try to figure out what star signs are up there. I can usually figure out the Big Dipper and Little Dipper pretty quickly but there are others that I struggle with. In the summertime, I can sit out there with a glass of wine, listen to the cicadas and the sounds of the night. It’s almost like an invitation to my own movie. The stars may not do anything up there but man, my imagination can take off like a symphony. I envision different scenes in my mind of space exploration and the Gods of Greek Mythology. I think of all the folks who look up at the sky and allow their minds to wander into worlds of their own and it brings peace to my heart to know that the world for just a spell is still.
There are times when the world makes me feel like there’s too many obstacles to overcome. In those moments, I know that the stars are aligning to allow change in my heart. Because without change, we can not grow. It is through the changes that we all experience that we understand and appreciate the simple things like looking to the stars for guidance. They may not tell us the answers but they allow us to think with our hearts which in turn can transform our minds. The next time you are outside, take a moment to go somewhere safe where you can look to the sky. See if you see anything in the stars that inspires you. You might even want to take pictures of what you find. I know for me, I have the pictures in my head and carry them with me when I need reminders of the simple things. You might even find that the stars will give you all kinds of ideas. Most importantly, I hope that it gives you peace this holiday season. Enjoy the view.