The wonder of Christmas

Photo by Jack B on Unsplash

When did you last look up at the stars? 

Normally we can only see very few because of light pollution, but for Eva and I there was one night when that wasn't the case. 

In November we went on holiday to a little cottage in Northumberland. It's a special place for us, with a lot of memories and this was a wonderfully quirky cottage, with a lot of character.  

The cottage was in a one street village called Harbottle. It had one pub/village shop, a church and a bus stop and that was about it. And it also had hardly any street lights which made it perfect for stargazing! 

Whenever we've been to Northumberland in the past, cloudy nights had stolen our joy, but not this time! 

There was one night, which was cold and crisp, clear and dark, and we saw them. These glittering jewels, more then we'd ever seen before and to top it off, I believe we even saw mere glimpses of the Milky Way.

It was one of those moments to just stop and stare and wonder. And yes, to be still and know that He is God. 

So what does this have to do with writing you may cry? An excellent question, and one to which I have an answer. 

I've been asked to write a piece about The Wonder of Christmas by the pastor of the church that Eva and I used to go to when we lived in Redhill in Surrey. Which is easier said then done. 

Turkey, tinsel and TV specials are out, as are Santa, stuffing and Snowballs - the drinks that is, not the ones we chuck at each other. 

No. It should be about the deeper wonder of Christmas, but I was still struggling, but one idea was simmering in my imagination soup - the idea that we are made of stardust. Yes, really. Those stars, that Eva and I gazed up at, that were created an insanely long time ago, have the same elements that are in us - carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen phosphorous and sulfur. 

The astronomer Carl Sagan, expressed this in a far more entertaining way than I can. He said: 

“The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of star stuff”.

– Carl Sagan

It would be wrong to say that discovering that the Magi may not have actually followed a star but may have followed a planetary conjunction instead, slightly spoiled my plans as it would have been nice to ended with one of the most famous stars of all, but never mind. 

I've actually been thinking of writing a poem, which is one of the options, so we'll see. I have till the 15th so not long now. I'll let you know how I get on. 

I'm going to end with a couple of verses from one of my favourite books in the Bible, the book of Job. 

May you discover your own special type of wonder this Christmas...

“Can you catch the eye of the beautiful Pleiades sisters, or distract Orion from his hunt?

Can you get Venus to look your way, or get the Great Bear and her cubs to come out and play?

Do you know the first thing about the sky’s constellations and how they affect things on Earth?" Job 38:31-33

Martin is a writer, baker, photographer and storyteller. He's been published in the ACW Christmas anthology and Lent devotional. He's currently honing his craft at flash fiction and you can find him on 
Twitter here. 

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