A star, a star, dancing in the night
With a tail as big as a kite,
With a tail as big as a kite.
This dearly loved Christmas Carol sounds like a lullaby, doesn’t it? It contains so much peace and trust. Its author Noel Regney was a Frenchman who lived through the darkness of WWII. After the war he left France for US seeking new life free from danger of war. A few years later the world however faced something more sinister during the Cuban Missile Crisis. The nuclear conflict was filling people with fear. One October day in 1962 Noel Regney was walking in New York. A sense of despair was evident. No one was smiling. As he kept walking he saw two mothers with babies in prams. The little things were smiling to each other. This scene brought back to his mind the story of Christmas. Although the events of 1962 are a distant history now, on the big stage of the world and in our own lives we still face fear and despair. I presume that when the carol was written a star in the sky would make people think about a nuclear missile coming to destroy. That’s how much the atmosphere in the society had darkened the minds and hopes of people. We could apply the words of the Prophet Isaiah to the situation: ‘The people that walked in darkness, those who live in a land of deep shadow.’
My Dear Sisters and Brothers! What darkens your mind and your hopes these days? In the midst of that…
Do you hear what I hear?
A song, a song high above the trees
With a voice as big as the sea,
With a voice as big as the sea.
This carol is not a lullaby. Rather it is Good News to help us see things in us and around us differently. It is the power of the Good News announced to the shepherds on the Holy Night of the Lord’s Nativity: ‘Do not be afraid. Listen, I bring you news of great joy to be shared by the whole people. Today in the town of David a saviour has been born to you, he is Christ the Lord.’ In 1962 when the world trembled while at the verge of nuclear destruction Noel Regney found hope not in the influential and powerful leaders of this world but in the vulnerability of the New Born Jesus whom the babies in New York reminded him.
My Dear Fellow believers! Receive the message of the angels which the generations of Christians have been passing from age to age. It will bring you a divine promise and a much desired dawn breaking the darkness. Isaiah said that those in darkness ‘have seen a great light’ and for those in a land of deep shadow ‘a light has shone.’
Do you know what I know?
A Child, a Child shivers in the cold
Let us bring him silver and gold,
Let us bring him silver and gold."
Have you seen the commercial of Ferrero Rocher? It teases us with what they call ‘gods’ divine secret’ which gods had for their pleasure. How did it ended up on earth? Well, according to the commercial it slipped through the fingers of a god. There is an African saying: ‘The heart can make a gift. The fingers can only let it go.’ My Dear Friends! What we celebrate on this Christmas Day is not an accident; it is not something slipping through God’s fingers. Today we celebrate a conscious gift of God to us in the person of his Son Jesus Christ. If you want to check what your value in God’s eyes is make your way to the Nativity Scene and look at the Baby there. St Paul announced it to the Christians in Rome in this way: ‘He sacrificed himself for us in order to set us free from all wickedness and to purify a people so that it could be his very own.’
Listen to what I say!
The Child, the Child sleeping in the night
He will bring us goodness and light,
He will bring us goodness and light.
Another African proverb says: ‘If you want to go fast go on your own. If you want to go far find yourself a companion.’ When Mary ‘wrapped the Baby in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger’ God has committed himself to accompany us from our very beginning until we reach our home in heaven. Sometimes we may think that he is with us when we deserve him but the Good News is that he is with us because we need him. In him ‘God’s grace has been revealed and has made salvation possible for the whole human race.’
He is the hope of all nations. He is my hope. Is he your hope? If he is you will understand what I mean when I say: ‘Merry Christmas.