The night sky is a wonder to behold. It’s even more amazing in those dwindling number of places left on our planet where it’s still dark enough to see the stars in all their glory. City lights, even porch lights, can create something called “light pollution” which causes all but the brightest stars to fade from view. But there are a few places which are dark enough to reveal what lies above us. The west coast of Ireland is one of these places. County Kerry is home to an international dark-sky reserve which is like a national park dedicated to keeping the night sky as dark as possible. There you can look up and see millions and millions of stars. It’s overwhelming and almost unbelievable. The Milky Way is really densely white with stars, like a huge brushstroke of milk across a jet-black infinity. Once you experience this kind of night sky, you”ll never be the same again.
It makes it easy to understand why human beings have always been fascinated with the stars. Turning our faces up to the heavens, gazing at countless points of light makes us wonder what our place truly is in all the vastness of space. We ask ourselves the big questions: Who am I? What’s the purpose of life? Is this all there is? Who made the universe? Can I know the Maker? Looking up awakens in us a deep desire to know the answers to these questions. In fact, the word “desire” comes from the Latin “de sidere” which means “from the stars.” There’s a connection between us and the heavens. Carl Sagan used to say that we were made of “star stuff.” I think he was right. I believe that our hearts are drawn to what lies above us because it’s where we came from and it’s where we long to return, not in an “ET” sort of way, but in a much more miraculous journey.
The season of Christmas is the story of our journey to our true home. It’s the story of all our heart’s desires coming true in the most unexpected way. The Maker of the universe is born in a stable, to a Virgin. A star announces His birth. Angels fill the night sky with music. Kings from faraway lands come to worship Him. The Eternal has left heaven to step into time, into our world, into a body like ours, into a human family. God knew that we couldn’t make it home on our own. We needed a ladder to get to heaven—and that ladder is Christ on the Holy Cross. His love and sacrifice is the only way to reach it.
The Nativity of The Lord is the singularity of eternity. Scientists use “singularity” in an attempt to describe events or conditions which are unique. The birth of Jesus is beyond all definitions of singularity. Time itself is divided into “before Christ’ and “in the year of our Lord.” We measure humanity by the moment of His first breath because at that instant, everything changed. Hope entered the world. Love became one of us. We can know the Maker of the stars, and know that He loves us Heaven has come to earth.
On a clear night in County Kerry, you can look up and see a blazing swath of stardust. You can feel the immeasurable depth and breadth of the universe soaring over you. You’ll see stars you’ve never seen before. And you can know that the God Who made all these stars, made them for you. And on clear night in Bethlehem, He was born so that you could know the kind of love that would create a universe for you and die on a Cross to give you heaven.
“Life up your eyes to the heavens. Who created all these stars?