Ever lie on your back
in the middle of a field
on a cold winter’s night
looking up at the stars?
Once I tried to count them.
Twenty. Forty. Sixty. And so on.
Seems I always lost track
somewhere near the century mark.
They’d flicker and sparkle and dance
their way beyond the western skyline
and I would start again.
Twenty. Forty. And so forth.
One night the air felt uniquely crisp
and heavy - laden with fog,
having scurried into darkness
At the heels of a winter solstice.
The count this night was sparse.
One. Just one. A single shining star
hung like a misplaced ornament
on Charlie Brown’s humble tree.
A grand Spielberg spectacle, it
cut through the evening mist.
And I wondered as I wandered
back from that soupy field.
Does God anticipate
the time it takes for
starlight to reach the earth
and guide wise men
through the darkness
to find their way
to a quintessential rendezvous?
Or could the wayward trio
have been as mesmerized
by the animated trappings of
a GPS display?
Is the endless ribbon of brake lights
on Christmas eve simply
a series of stepping stones
for compassion to find its way home?
Or has the God light been put awash
by halogens and LEDs,
and pulsing neon?
The strength of God’s radiance -
How do we measure?
In kilowatts or heartbeats or lumens?
Or in a single sacrificial act of love for humankind?
Heading back to the warm
womb of my cottage,
I began to brush the angel snow
from my jacket.
Then caught a glimpse of sparkling
crystals cascading from my shoulder,
illuminated by one sacred star
on a foggy Christmas eve.
I let the snow succumb
to liquid and gently fall away
as starlight lingered
to brighten the earth with hope.