stars and angel

They were the invitations God sent to include man in the Christmas story. The Wise Men followed the star; the shepherds followed through on the directions given them by the angels. Stars and Angels beckoned non-members of the Holy Family to celebrate with the new parents. Their role in that first Christmas was to call people into the presence of Immanuel, God made flesh.

Now they are common in our Christmas decorations. We sing about them in our carols, and we usually top our trees with a star or an angel. Christmas pageants always include a “host” of angels.

I wonder if any others saw the signs or heard the invitation of that first Christmas and just chose to ignore them. I wonder how many others saw the star, were fascinated by its appearing, and chose not to interrupt their schedules. I wonder why the angels picked those particular shepherds to invite to the manger. Did the inn keeper’s family know a baby was being born in their stable? Did they check on that laboring mother, or were they too busy with other plans and chores? Was their story left out of biblical account, or did they leave God out of their story that night?

Too many of us see the signs of Christmas and appreciate them from afar, without ever following them into the presence of God. The light of that star shone over the birthplace of the Light of the World. God put the sign where everyone could see it, but very few made the effort or had the desire to follow it into his presence. The angels told of the blessing that the birth of Jesus brought to Earth, but only the shepherds went to see for themselves.

 Appreciating the decorations, even being aware of the event, will not necessarily bring you into the presence of Immanuel. When you see a star or an angel during this season, be reminded that they were always God’s invitation to be a part of his story. In the days leading up to the celebration of Christmas, may you follow the star and the angels past the tradition and ritual of the holiday into the presence of God himself.