The evening of the 21st of December, just after sundown, we drove up a tractor rutted hillside and parked our trucks on the top of a rise. The field sloped downward from there and the tree line was well below the southwest sky. Our neighbors popped up 4 lawn chairs and we sat, looking.
A hint of a orange sun set completed, still shown through the bottom edge of the horizon. And we looked. We talked. My wife, though, was silent. I tried to engage her with some conversation (several times) but she stayed silent. And we watched.
A crescent moon shown brightly over head but not a star in the sky appeared. We checked the time. According to what we had read, that moment had arrived and we all looked up at the sky together. Nothing.
I blinked, looked again and there it was. A noticeable star. The only star. Then appearing to be two stars. Close, noticeable to the naked eye. And we watched on this warm East Texas evening as the Star of Bethlehem was again born for us to witness. In an instant, a celestial switch was thrown from the sun to light those two close planets.
We talked of that moment. Thanked our neighbors, from our hearts, for sharing their hill and this once in a life time moment with us. We sat, we watched.
After a half hour the two planets seemed brighter. The naked eye saw more of a single light than two. Without fanfare or notice five spikes of light appeared. I asked the others if they saw what I was seeing and they did. I blinked, looked away, looked back again and again. I looked at some of the other night stars starting to appear in the sky and none shown so bright and absolutely no other star was accompanied by five noticeable streaks of light emanating from their centers. And I watched. I must have done this several dozen times. I was seeing what I was seeing.
I compared the star lit sky to this Star of Bethlehem. There were none other that shown so bright or painted a noticeable singe point in the evening sky.
It was personal for me, my wife and our neighbors. We were fortunate for the hill, the horizon and the blackblue sky. It makes no difference to any of us (I think) beyond what we saw that night. All of that became locked inside the 4 of us and most likely a unique personal event.
I silently prayed. For guidance. For my myself, my wife, my family, friends my country. For good health and for strength. I prayed for the goodness of man to prevail. And I thanked God for his presence in my life. Under the star of Bethlehem, was a wonderful moment to offer a prayer.
My wife has held this moment very close to her.
Christmas Day Eve now. Gonna post and then take a few days off.
I realized yesterday, when a gal at the local market offered simple advice at check out. I told her I as having trouble with my homemade bread not rising and she said to check the date on the yeast. Offering bread making tips.
She noted that I had also visited the discount meat corner. Yes, I had and found rib eye steaks at half price. A large circle of bread rolls followed as I feared I was going to encounter a homemade bread failure for the holiday.
Then she asked if I was a senior citizen. I smiled said yes and to myself said "bless your heart." She said I saved $4.00 which meant that one of those rib eyes was damn near free.
"Have a blessed day and a Merry Christmas" rolled off her tongue as she handed me my receipt. Accompanied by the East Texas accent put an instant lump in my throat. From the heart.
In that moment she taught me how important everyday human contact is. The simplicity of that moment, genuine conversation/interaction/warmth/niceness to others.
These days and times are finding people that are giving up God given freedom, locking themselves in their homes and avoiding most all personal human contact. They are killing themselves softly. I am trying to understand.
Thank you for the visit.
Have a blessed day and a Very Merry Christmas.