A Christmas Card to all from Jay Markanich.
According to my GPS device, when I stand on my front porch, that title is the very point on the earth that I am standing. I am home. It is my refuge and my spot. Where my family is. Where my things are. I am safe. I am protected. And I am me.
When I stand on my front porch and look directly ahead, about 72 degrees up or so, I am looking directly at an astronomical phenomena.
I can clearly see the North Star.
It has also been called, variously, the Lode Star, Polaris, and the Polar Star. It is the only constant point in the sky.
Not the brightest point in the sky, this star has been used for millennia to give lost travelers direction. To show the way. To be a true point of reference. Its light was designed to do that.
From our perspective, the very heavens revolve around this light.
In addition to the star's utility, it is symbolic. It symbolizes the constancy of love and relationship. Of friendship and advocacy. Of empathetic understanding and never-failing succor.
At this season of Christmas it is as symbolic of celebrations as it is symbolic of light. Throughout the country at this time of year are many celebrations of the season called "The Festival Of Lights." They celebrate a Steady Guide. They celebrate a Constant Friend and Advocate.
We go to extremes to decorate our homes, inside and out, and small trees, inside and out, with many points of light. In symbolic celebration. And in symbolic remembrance and recognition.
Of a fashioner of trees. A carpenter.
These decorations are to remind us of a simple star. A star that was followed. It was followed first by shepherds (symbolic of those who care for others). And then by Wise Men (symbolic of those who advise and lead others). And then, it has been followed for centuries by simple discipleship. The burden of this follow-ship is easier and lighter than any alternative. The star led all to an easier way. The star led us all to the reason for this season.
A fixed light, a fixed star, could be no more appropriate symbol of the person we should remember and follow. It is a fixed point for us. And we are invited to fix our attentions on it. Even our worship.
The very word "CHRISTMAS" means "Christ's Masse" or "Christ's Celebration." Christmas is an appropriate word for the holiday we celebrate this month. I would recommend that thought to you as you consider the birth that a simple star announced. And the mission that followed that miraculous birth.
I, for one, when I often look up at that fixed star in the sky, think of a certain wonderful, counseling, mighty, everlasting, princely, loving, constant Friend.
And so, I wish you a Merry Christmas. I also wish you the Warmest of Seasons and the Happiest of New Years!