Our family Christmas stockings are now hanging on our fireplace mantel at home--a very important fact to my granddaughter who has been concerned because the apartment where she lives has no fireplace. "How will Santa bring gifts without a chimney?, she asked me recently. I assured her that her stocking was hanging at my fireplace, and Santa would find her.
Of course, Santa's entry is important to a five-year-old. As Jesus-followers, we understand that Christmas is most importantly about God's entry into our own world. It is, after all, the "season of advent," God's arrival in the form of baby Jesus.
On a plane this week, I read new historical research about the Star of Bethlehem that guided wise men to the Christ child. In my mind, this "star" has always been a comet or a supernova in a far off galaxy. Some now believe the star was something much more subtle. One researcher makes the case that the star was the planet Jupiter, partially occluded by the moon while in the Aries constellation. Jupiter as the morning star would have been very significant to astrologers of the day -- it would have signaled (albeit subtly) the arrival of royalty.
The magazine article concluded, "Theory suggests wise men saw something big in something little."
I can't evaluate the research, but I like the idea that God often enters our life, not with a supernova, but with a subtle light. The little things can point us to the most eternally important of things.
Don't you see this in relationships with our students? God often uses our small words and small deeds to accomplish big things in their lives.
I hope your stockings are hanging, and you are preparing again to celebrate the arrival of Jesus this Christmas.