The Silent Witness of the Christmas Star When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that … Continue reading
The Colorado Blue Spruce Christmas tree was trimmed with lights, ornaments, and tinsel. It was jubilantly displayed in the corner of the room, with it’s bright shining star blazing atop. A beacon of good things to come. Children ooh’d and … Continue reading
“The Light in God’s Window”
“For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all people, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.” (Luke 2:30-32 NIV)
An almost legendary symbol in some of the older movies was the light left burning in the window as a silent messenger to tell an estranged loved one that he or she was welcome to come home. A modern variation of that theme is the popular song from the 70’s, “Tie a Yellow Ribbon.” But this theme is much older than that. God lit a light in his “window” nearly 2000 years ago.
God threw a party at his Son’s birth, and sent out two different invitations. The first took the form of an angelic band sent to bring the happy news to a group of Jewish shepherds. God’s chosen people, the Jews, we’re being told of the coming of their long-awaited Messiah. But the rest of humanity, the Gentiles, were not excluded from the festivities. The second invitation, a star in the heavens, bore silent witness that God had kept his promise to them as well.
That star truly was the light in God’s window. Its message should not be lost today amidst all the man-made glitter of this season. Its message should especially not be ignored by Christians. Our loving Father in Heaven is still waiting to welcome the prodigal son (or daughter) home. As he did 2000 years ago, God is still welcoming both strangers and wayward sons alike to come home.
Christmas is a time for unbelievers to come and adore Him, and embrace him as Lord and Savior. But it is also a time for Christians who have left their first love relationship with Jesus to return home. A birthday party is not much fun to attend if you’re not on speaking terms with the guest of honor. As he promised, Jesus is ready to forgive and receive those who will truly repent and ask his forgiveness.
If this is your situation, you have everything to gain by coming home. If it isn’t, then why not share this message of hope with someone who needs to hear it? The light in God’s window is still lit!
This is an article Dave Sparks, wrote several years ago. (Reprinted by permission)
Once upon a time in a large forest there lived a very furry bunny. He had one lop ear, a tiny black nose, and unusually shiny eyes. His name was Barrington.
Barrington was not really a very handsome bunny. He was brown and speckled and his ears didn’t stand up right. But he could hop, and he was, as I have said, very furry.
In a way, winter is fun for bunnies. After all, it gives them an opportunity to hop in the snow and then turn around to see where they have hopped. So, in a way, winter was fun for Barrington.
But in another way winter made Barrington sad. For, you see, winter marked the time where all of the animal families got together in their cozy homes to celebrate Christmas. He could hop, and he was very furry. But as far as Barrington knew, he was the only bunny in the forest.
When Christmas Eve finally came, Barrington did not feel like going home all by himself. So he decided he would hop for awhile in the clearing at the center of the forest.
Hop. Hop. Hippity-hop. Barrington made tracks in the fresh snow.
Hop. Hop. Hippity-hop. Then he cocked his head and looked back at the wonderful designs he had made.
“Bunnies,” he thought to himself, “can hop. And they are very warm, too, because of how furry they are.”
(But Barrington didn’t really know whether or not this was true of all bunnies, since he had never met another bunny.)
When it got too dark to see the tracks he was making, Barrington made up his mind to go home.
On his way, however, he passed a large oak tree. High in the branches there was a great deal of excited chattering going on. Barrington looked up. It was a squirrel family! What a marvelous time they seemed to be having.
“Hello, up there,” called Barrington.
“Hello, down there,” came the reply.
“Having a Christmas party?” asked Barrington.
“Oh, yes!” answered the squirrels. “It’s Christmas Eve. Everybody is having a Christmas party!”
“May I come to your party?” said Barrington softly.
“Are you a squirrel?”
“What are you, then?”
“Well, how can you come to the party if you’re a bunny? Bunnies can’t climb trees.”
“That’s true,” said Barrington thoughtfully. “But I can hop and I’m very furry and warm.”
“We’re sorry,” called the squirrels. “We don’t know anything about hopping and being furry, but we do know that in order to come to our house you have to be able to climb trees.”
“Oh, well,” said Barrington. “Merry Christmas.”
“Merry Christmas,” chattered the squirrels.
And the unfortunate bunny hopped off toward his tiny house.
It was beginning to snow when Barrington reached the river. Near the river bank was a wonderfully constructed house of sticks and mud. Inside there was singing.
“It’s the beavers,” thought Barrington. “Maybe they will let me come to their party.”
And so he knocked on the door.
“Who’s out there?” called a voice.
“Barrington Bunny,” he replied.
There was a long pause and then a shiny beaver head broke the water.
“Hello, Barrington,” said the beaver.
“May I come to your Christmas party?” asked Barrington.
The beaver thought for awhile and then he said, “I suppose so. Do you know how to swim?”
“No,” said Barrington, “but I can hop and I am very furry and warm.”
“Sorry,” said the beaver. “I don’t know anything about hopping and being furry, but I do know that in order to come to our house you have to be able to swim.”
“Oh, well,” Barrington muttered, his eyes filling with tears. “I suppose that’s true-Merry Christmas.”
“Merry Christmas,” called the beaver. And he disappeared beneath the surface of the water.
Even as furry as he was, Barrington was starting to get cold. And the snow was falling so hard that his tiny, bunny eyes could scarcely see what was ahead of him.
He was almost home, however, when he heard the excited squeaking of field mice beneath the ground.
“It’s a party,” thought Barrington. And suddenly he blurted out through his tears, “Hello, field mice. This is Barrington Bunny. May I come to your party?”
But the wind was howling so loudly and Barrington was sobbing so much that no one heard him.
And when there was no response at all, Barrington just sat down in the snow and began to cry with all his might.
“Bunnies,” he thought, aren’t any good to anyone. What good is it to be furry and to be able to hop if you don’t have any family on Christmas Eve?”
Barrington cried and cried. When he stopped crying he began to bite on his bunny’s foot, but he did not move from where he was sitting in the snow.
Suddenly, Barrington was aware he was not alone. He looked up and strained his shiny eyes to see who was there.
To his surprise he saw a great silver wolf. The wolf was large and strong and his eyes flashed fire. He was the most beautiful animal Barrington had ever seen.
For a long time the silver wolf didn’t say anything at all. He just stood there and looked at Barrington with those terrible eyes.
Then slowly and deliberately the wolf spoke. “Barrington,” he asked in a gentle voice, “why are you sitting in the snow?”
“Because it’s Christmas Eve,” said Barrington, “and I don’t have any family, and bunnies aren’t any good to anyone.”
“Bunnies are, too, good,” said the wolf. “Bunnies can hop and they are very warm.”
“What good is that?” Barrington sniffed.
“It is very good indeed,” the wolf went on, “because it is a gift that bunnies are given, a free gift with no strings attached. And every gift that is given to anyone is given for a reason. Someday you will see why it is good to hop and to be warm and furry.”
“But it’s Christmas,” moaned Barrington, “and I’m all alone. I don’t have any family at all.”
“Of course you do,” replied the great silver wolf. “All of the animals in the forest are your family.”
And then the wolf disappeared. He simply wasn’t there. Barrington had only blinked his eyes, and when he looked-the wolf was gone.
“All of the animals in the forest are my family,” thought Barrington. “It’s good to be a bunny. Bunnies can hop. That’s a gift.” And then he said it again. “A gift. A free gift.”
On in the night Barrington worked. First he found the best stick he could. (And that was difficult because of the snow.)
Then hop. Hop. Hippity-hop. To beaver’s house. He left the stick just outside the door. With a note on it that read: “Here is a good stick for your house. It is a gift. A free gift. No strings attached. Signed, a member of your family.”
“It is a good thing that I can hop, he thought, “because the snow is very deep.”
Then Barrington dug and dug. Soon he had gathered together enough dead leaves and grass to make the squirrels’ nest warmer. Hop. Hop. Hippity-hop.
He laid the grass and leaves just under the large oak tree and attached this message: “A gift. A free gift. From a member of your family.”
It was late when Barrington finally started home. And what made things worse was that he knew a blizzard was beginning.
Hop. Hop. Hippity-hop.
Soon poor Barrington was lost. The wind howled furiously, and it was very, very cold. “It certainly is cold,” he said out loud. “It’s a good thing I’m so furry. But if I don’t find my way home pretty soon I might freeze!”
Squeak. Squeak. . . .
And then he saw it-a baby field mouse lost in the snow. And the little mouse was crying.
“Hello, little mouse,” Barrington called.
“Don’t cry. I’ll be right there.” Hippity-hop, and Barrington was beside the tiny mouse.
“I’m lost,” sobbed the little fellow. “I’ll never find my way home, and I know I’m going to freeze.”
“You won’t freeze,” said Barrington. “I’m a bunny and bunnies are very furry and warm. You stay right where you are and I’ll cover you up.”
Barrington lay on top of the little mouse and hugged him tight. The tiny fellow felt himself surrounded by warm fur. He cried for awhile but soon, snug and warm, he fell asleep.
Barrington had only two thoughts that long, cold night. First he thought, “It’s good to be a bunny. Bunnies are very furry and warm.” And then, when he felt the heart of the tiny mouse beating regularly, he thought, “All the animals in the forest are my family.”
Next morning, the field mice found their little boy, asleep in the snow, warm and snug beneath the furry carcass of a dead bunny. Their relief and excitement was so great that they didn’t even think to question where the bunny had come from.
And as for the beavers and the squirrels, they still wonder which member of their family left the little gift for them that Christmas Eve.
After the field mice had left, Barrington’s frozen body simply lay in the snow. There was no sound except that of the howling wind. And no one anywhere in the forest noticed the great silver wolf who came to stand beside that brown, lop-eared carcass.
But the wolf did come.
And he stood there.
Without moving or saying a word.
All Christmas Day.
Until it was night.
And then he disappeared into the forest.
I first heard this, on Christmas 1960, (at the ripe old age
of Eight) and it has remained one of my favourites!
Christmas Thoughts for all the Year
By the Editors of Mc Call’s, December, 1959
CHRISTMAS is celebration; and celebration is instinct in the
heart. With gift and feast, with scarlet ribbon and fresh
green bough, with merriment and the sound of music, we
commend the day — oasis in the long, long landscape of the
commonplace. Through how many centuries, through how may
threatening circumstances, has Christmas been celebrated,
since that cry came ringing down the ages, “Fear not: for,
behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall
be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city
of David, a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.” (Luke
Christmas is celebration, but the traditions that cluster
sweetly around the day have significance only if they
translate the heart’s intention — the yearning of the human
spirit to compass and express faith and hope and love.
Without this intention, the gift is bare, and the
celebration a touch of tinsel, and the time without meaning.
As these attributes, exemplifying the divine spark in
mankind, informed the first Christmas and have survived the
onslaughts of relentless time, so do they shine untarnished
in this present year of our Lord.
Faith and hope and love, which cannot be bought or sold or
bartered, but only given away are the wellsprings, firm and
deep of Christmas celebration. These are the gifts without
price, the ornaments incapable of imitation, discovered only
within oneself and therefore unique. They are not always
easy to come by, but they are in unlimited supply ever in
the province of all.
THIS CHRISTMAS. mend a quarrel. Seek out a forgotten friend.
Dismiss suspicion, and replace it with trust. Write a love
letter. Share some treasure. Give a soft answer. Encourage
youth. Manifest your loyalty in word and deed. Keep a
promise. Find the time. Forgo a grudge. Forgive an enemy.
Listen. Apologize if you were wrong. Try to understand.
Flout envy. Examine your demands on others. Think first of
someone else. Appreciate. Be kind; be gentle. Laugh a
little. Laugh a little more. Deserve confidence. Take up
arms against malice. Decry complacency. Express your
gratitude. Go to church. Welcome a stranger. Gladden the
heart of a child. Take pleasure in the beauty and wonder of
the earth. Speak your love. Speak it again. Speak it still
These are but inklings of a vast category; a mere scratching
of the surface. They are simple things; you have heard them
all before; but their influence has never been measured.
Christmas is celebration, and there is no celebration that
compares with the realization of its true meaning — with
the sudden stirring of the heart that has extended itself
toward the core of life. Then, only then, is it possible to
grasp the significance of the first Christmas — to savor in
the inward ear the wild, sweet music of the angel choir; to
envision the star-struck sky, and glimpse, behind the
eyelids the ray of light that feel athwart a darkened path
and changed the world.