Monday, December 14, 2015


“Twinkle, twinkle, little star; How I wonder what you are. Up above the world so high, like a diamond in the sky.” 

“Star light, star bright, first star I've seen tonight; I wish I may, I wish I might, have the wish I wish tonight!”

These little ditties bring to my memory early Iowa evenings in my childhood as I lay on the grassy lawn gazing at the darkening sky watching for the first stars to reveal themselves. From the vantage point of my fresh, narrow, innocent world I was reaching to understand whatever was out there somewhere and trying to connect with it. It made me wonder....wonder was “delicious” to my childish imagination.

I called the million tiny orbs “stars.”
What are stars? Stars are not solid objects. They are made of very hot gas. This gas is mostly hydrogen and helium, which are the two lightest elements. When I was born 90 years ago, science didn't know nearly as much about “what they are” as is known now through observatories, or from the Hubble Space radio telescopes such as the ones in the Deep Space Network (DSN). Or as will be known in the future through space exploration.

And they don't really “twinkle.” Stars shine or seem to twinkle by burning hydrogen into helium in their cores.

They certainly aren't “little.” Some stars are simply larger than others and so send out more light and I can see them.
Nor are the visible orbs really “up” there so high. We, who are gravity bound on our round, tilted Planet Earth which is circling the sun, think of objects as being “up” there when they are really more accurately “out there” in space.

What else is out there in space? Planets. These are dark bodies that orbit around stars but do not release enough light to be visible to the eye. But I can still see the planets and our moon in the night sky because light from the Sun reflects off of them. Earth and some other planets are made of rock, others are not solid but gas.

The first star I see tonight” might not be in that location the next time I gaze outward. I may never see it again. There are millions of stars in the universe but with the naked eye I can see only about 6000 above Earth. Besides, there is a lot of other dark matter between me and the stars that can block starlight. Most of the universe is empty space but there are clouds of interstellar dust and many tiny isolated particles which sometimes form clouds called nebulae. Also bits of rubble as big as small moons or as small as grains of sand called planetoids and asteroids. All that “space junk” keeps me from seeing more stars.

Sadly, those orbs I called stars don't “grant wishes.” As far as we know, they are uninhabited and unapproachable. There is a real Someone Else “up there” called God, the Creator of Heaven and Earth and the rest of the universe, who can hear and answer us. We call that connection “prayer.”

Well, I was just wondering....

All of this made me wonder about the Scripture record concerning “the star” in the sky which appeared in the East that apparently moved geographically above Earth and led the magi, who were pagan astrologers, to the child Jesus. It was described as a “star” in terms of the knowledge of the astronomy of that era in time. What it really was remains a mystery known only to our supernatural God who can do as He pleases with His creation for His omnipotent purposes. 

I can wonder, I can marvel, I can speculate, I can theorize, I can investigate, but in the end I need to trust our awesome Almighty God and wait until all mysteries are revealed in His presence in what we call “Heaven,” wherever in space and time He has planned for us to be with Him eternally in our immortal state. Maybe Jesus will show us a video of how it was done!

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