It’s nearly that time of Eve.
And the Farmer, he’s driving down the middle of an empty country road, when he just flicks the headlights right off and the black isn’t black after all.
“Look at it!” I whisper it.
The bowl of milky moon’s spilling over snow sleeping fields.
“You could drive the whole way home without the lights on.”
“That moon sure is bright… ”
The Farmer’s leaning over the steering wheel.
The moon reflects the sun, and the Christmas-white fields reflect the moon, and we’re all faces shining tonight, the whole world looking up.
Wise men did this — two thousand years ago, far in the east, magi were like this, craning necks back to touch the black — to read star Braille in the dark.
Wise men, men of the ruling body of the Megistanes, robed sages with absolute power in choosing the king of the eastern empire. The wise men, the king-makers. King-Makers feeling along the stars for a sign.
Isn’t the whole planet looking up on the Eve, looking up for a King?
Night air snaps cold and heaven pushes close.
It feels like you can almost touch them, all these stars.
There are 70 thousand million, million, million stars in the known universe, that’s what they say.
They say that’s 10 times as many stars as the grains of sand on all the world’s shores and deserts.
But there’s no seeing it from these fields —- that 8000 light years into that celestial ocean, the whirl of a stellar wind forms the waving threads of the Hourglass Nebula.
There’s no seeing it with the naked eye, the Sombrero Galaxy’s blinding white, its bulbous centre spinning like an explosive broad-rimmed hat, whipping up a dust ring 28 million light years above these December fields.
There’s no glancing up to a mere 7,000 light years away, to the filmy wings of the 90 trillion kilometers high Eagle Nebula and how it’s bearing right tonight newborn stars in this explosive nursery.
It’s up there on Christmas Eve, whether you can read along the stellar dots raised in the night or not:
“He breathed the word, and all the stars were born” (Ps.33:6 NLT).
Our God breathes stars.
Is that the wisp of His breath rising right there in the Eagle Nebula?
Sitting here beside The Farmer, the swine herder, I’m thinking of sheep herders who saw God breathe a Star of Wonder over a Bethlehem sky.
I’m thinking of the whole bright sky declaring the glory of God, pouring forth speech: “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth, peace among men with whom He is pleased” (Lk. 2:14).
I’m thinking that we’re all on cusp of Christmas, looking up, hearing, seeing, nearly touching the glory of God, and it all begs the whisper of a question: who are we that He is mindful of us?
Who are we that the Maker of man might descend a man, that the Bread of Life might hunger for us, that the Fountain of Living Waters might thirst for our quenching?
Who are we that The Way might make the journey for us, that the Life might lay down and die so we could live?
They say that the Voyageur 1, that spaceship, it snapped the picture of who we are. A picture of who we are from 4 billion miles away, as the spacecraft turned around for one final glance back at its home before it drifted forever out of our solar system.
The photograph initially seemed inconsequential — black, dark…. empty.
But men leaned in, read the sky painstakingly — and there we are.
That is who we are: the entire planet is an infinitesimal 0.12 pixel in the photographed scheme of space.
It almost looks like nothing, this globe with its craning wise men.
So we float, captured in a ray of light, suspended in the lonely black of space.
That is who we are on Christmas Eve.
On Christmas Eve, the whole of the world sleeps and rises and waits and worships and we are a pinpoint.
Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark.
In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.”
Carl Sagan, he looked at that pale blue dot in all that dark…. and that’s what one of our wise men decreed — that there’s “no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.”
No hint of help?
No sign of saving?
No rumor of relief?
What if our God didn’t bother with a mere “hint”? What if our God rang it across the heavens, broadcast it from the astral apex, shattered the skies with the tidings?
Our God who breathes stars, He breathed Bethlehem’s Star, then took on lungs and breathed in stable air.
Our God who formed and delivered the heavens, He waited patient like an embryo in a womb and delivered Himself to free all humanity.
Our God who cradles whole galaxies in the palm of His hand, whom highest heavens cannot contain, He folds Himself into our skin and He curls His newborn fist in the cradle of a barn feed trough — and we are saved from ourselves.
We are saved from our hopelessness — because God came with infant fists and opened wide His hand to take the nail sharp edge of our sins.
We are saved from our pain — because God pierced the dark and came to the pinpoint of us in the universe and He took the nails.
We are saved from our loneliness — because God is love that can’t stand to leave us by ourselves, to ourselves.
The entire cosmos sings it on Christmas Eve: We are not alone.
We are a pinpoint in the universe that is now nailed to eternity because of the wood of a manger, of a Tree, of a crowning wreath of thorns.
Out of the dark, out of the black and right into the the land of the shadow of death, a great Light has dawned, and God comes and God is with us, Emmanuel… God on the pale blue dot.
We are not alone.
God can’t miss this pale blue dot, and God can’t leave you in your pain, and God can’t and the King comes, God comes — Love come down.
We turn at our sideroad, drive up through the woods, following the way of wise men, always looking up.
The snow’s lying still, bright.
The moon, it hangs an ornament in all these trees that have thrown off their coats in the joy of tonight — the joy of His coming.
And all the world this night, it aches and it hurts and it huddles and it groans and it glows a wonder in a black that isn’t that black after all —
God’s with us on this pale blue dot, God whispering realest Christmas miracle into this dark:
“I am here and you are not alone.”
Part 1: When You’re Looking for a Christmas Miracle
Part 2: The Christmas Miracle He Will Not Withhold from You
Part 3: When it’s Hard to Believe in Miracles this Christmas