The Christmas Star

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Grace Egan joins Hungry For More today as we continue our look at “Christmas around the world.” Grace and I got to know one another about six years ago, when the both of us had relocated back to the states after living abroad. I immediately loved her zest for life, fabulous sense of humor and passion for the Father. 

 

Lean in and let Grace captivate you with Christmas on the other side of the world.

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ChristmasStar

 

Several years ago, a survey was taken in South Asia. Thousands of people were asked, “What is the meaning of Christmas?” The number one answer given was “Cake.” What a curious answer. You see, there are many in the world whom don’t yet know Jesus, but they recognize that Christmas is an anniversary of sorts; the birthday of Jesus – a time to share… cake. 

 

My family celebrated our first Christmas in South Asia without the usual hustle-bustle that accompanies the holidays in America. There were few Christmas trees, and even fewer nativity scenes. There were small signs of Christmas at the mall: some lights and ornaments were sold. Garland and tinsel can be found and Father Christmas (Santa Claus) was mentioned here and there. We didn’t hear about Christmas sales, and counting down shopping days until Christmas. We found ourselves, for the most part, in a foreign land looking for a way to have a meaningful way to share Christmas with our family, new friends and neighbors.  

 

In South Asia, we soon discovered that Christians hang a Christmas Star on their patio. This large paper star is often cut out of thick, pretty paper much like one would cut out a paper snowflake, and has small perforations for the light to shine through.  The star is often hung like a lantern with a light bulb inside, so that in the shadow of evening, the light illuminates the star and draws all eyes up toward it, proclaiming a special event. In a land full of many religions, this is the evidence of Christmas.

 

Just like 2000 years ago, when God placed the star in the sky to lead others to the birthplace of Jesus Christ, the Christmas star hung on our balconypatio beaconing others to come and see. As it says in Matthew 2:9-11“… [the Magi} went on their way. And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy.  And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.” (ESV)

 

As this Christmas season begins with its lure of shopping, shiny decorations, and endless events one after another, I’m reminded of that Christmas, when our neighbors and friends came to our home with its Christmas star.  It was a beautifully simple evening. We read the Christmas story together and decorated a scrawny Charlie Brown tree that we dragged into the house in a large clay pot.  We sang Christmas Hymns, decorated cookies and shared memories that are still vivid in my mind.  We learned a great lesson that night… that celebrating the joy of the hope we have in the coming of Jesus is the best gift ever.

grace