“… and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” “(Mathew 2:2)
As written in the Gospel of Matthew, a mysterious star had appeared over the place where Christ was born in Bethlehem on the first Christmas, there by leading the wise men (the Magi) to find the baby Jesus and visit him. While many have debated about what the Star of Bethlehem really was; some believing it to be a fable or a North Star, planets, comets and the like. Also some astronomers believe that evidence proves it to be a “nova star” originating at that time and at that point. Either way, the star proves as a guiding light not only to find the baby Christ but also as a reminder that His Birth will bring us light in the gloomy depths of the World. As said in the scriptures, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12).
On Christmas Eve as we remember, narrate and read about the birth of the Lord, knowing that God’s gift has to be lived and shared will help us live the gift of Life as well as the blessings He has bestowed on us.
“God’s Gift” by Fyodor Dostoevsky
An angel-child on Christmas Eve
Did God send to the world.
“As you walk among the pines,”
He said and then he smiled,
“Do cut a tree and, in my name,
Do give it to the kindest
And the sweetest child on earth.”
The angel-child was puzzled deep:
“Whom shall I give it to?
How shall I know which of the babes
Has earned the prize of our Lord’s grace?”
“You’ll know,” was all God said,
And the Heavenly Host did part.
The moon stood high and lit the road
That led into the city.
The air was full of happy song,
Joy awaited every child…
So with the tree upon his back
The cheerful angel boldly strode.
Now, take a look in every window:
What cheer in every room!
Christmas trees all burning bright
As they do on Yuletide night.
The angel now began to rush
And made his way from home to home,
So as to find that special one
Who would receive God’s gift.
And everywhere he looked, he saw
Such fine and mindful girls and boys.
But each, on seeing the Christmas tree,
Forgot their manners and their poise.
Some said, “That tree’s for me!”
Some answered, shameless as could be:
“You aren’t worth half a tree,
I’m better than you, you see!”
“Oh, no, I say, that is my tree
You are not half as good as me!”
The angel listened quietly
And looked upon them sadly.
Every one was full of boasts
And each did praise himself the most.
Their eyes did squint with envy,
Their gazes — black with fear.
The angel ran onto the street,
And heaved a sigh, “Oh, Lord, my dear!
Do tell me which of them deserves
Your kind and precious gift!”
Then on the street our angel met
A tiny boy, at best knee-high.
He stared right at that green pine tree
His face did glow and shine.
“A tree, a tree!” he clapped his hands,
“Oh, what a shame I don’t deserve
This gift — it’s not for me…
But won’t you take it to my sis,
Who lies at home in bed so sick?
It would make her happy! Yes!
No one deserves it more than she!
She earned it with the tears she shed!”
The boy then poked the angel-child
And the angel-child did smile
And gave the boy that Christmas tree.
And then, as if by miracle,
The stars fell from the sky,
And sparkling like green emeralds
They encircled that Christmas pine.
It shimmered, twinkled, winked and gleamed,
For it wore the mark of grace Divine
That little boy stood struck amazed
And trembled in his rapture…
The angel witnessed that boy’s love
And tears streamed down his face.
And the angel brought to God that news
That was the greatest grace.
(Translated/adapted by John Freedman)