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Here’s a little something she wrote for 12 Days of Christmas STORIES (thanks Kate!!!)…
Stars of Wonder
So Christmas wears on, and the presents are all open, the last vestiges of the turkey are finished, and this time two odd thousand years ago the smallest wise man would be asking asking the other two, “Are we nearly there yet?”
The question would not help matters. The charm of trekking across the desert after stars would have largely worn off, and the other two would scowl and hug their cloaks to them in the chill of the desert night.
And the camels would rumble ominously. Even camels’ feet get weary sometimes.
The visit to Herod was not quite what anyone had expected. The almighty power that commands the stars was supposed to have better lines of communication between himself and the powerful leaders of his pet planet. The wise men had banked on it, and the almighty’s systems had been found wanting.
The child who was to be born king of the Jews, it was naturally assumed, would be born with the full knowledge and co-operation of the local king, Herod. And the star gave the visitors no reason to doubt their hypothesis; it glided regally up to Jerusalem, bound ultimately for Bethlehem.
But stars: they can be a tease.
Have you ever tried a telescope? Using one is like playing a fine-tuned instrument. The struggle to get a star in the cross-thread, just in the right place; the precision tuning to get that image perfect.
Tonight we went through the whole thing for the first time with my 10-year-old son. Waiting until after dark, we climbed up onto a plateau into the forest nearby and pointed the telescope at a star. Would it stay still to be observed? It would not. It dodged and weaved like a prizefighter, and because the image is inverted on the telescope when we moved one way to chase it, it would move the other way. And finally, after fifteen minutes of painstaking star-chasing, we trapped it like Tinkerbell, a dancing spot in the firmament, for long enough to view it.
And guess what. It was a sphere. A great, round reddish sphere.
Mars was coming out to play.
Yes, they can be a tease, these celestial bodies. They are anything but static, hurtling through space at 53, 968 miles per hour, but they are held in thrall to a star themselves, and it is that which gives them their game plan, a great space waltz orchestrated by Madame Gravity.
Yet they have their order. The decision to follow a star, it is a huge gamble: every star has its path, but all the paths are part of a crazy whole which walks hand in hand with the Father of Time, Chaos himself.
What must it have been like to be following one of these; for its promises not to be quite as they seemed?
The New Year approaches. Our lives have a certain order, but anything might happen, once midnight chimes.
Who knows how our story will twist and turn?
But each has its trajectory.
When it happens: may you have a Happy New Year.