Here we are on the third day of Hanukkah and we take the servant candle that represents Jesus and use its light to light three more candles.
We have been meditating on the light of Christ coming into the world and how we should all become light-bearers of the Good News of The Gospel of Jesus Christ. We’ve noticed and observed so many different types of light and have seen how God can use and multiply out the light from Him that He has put inside each of us.
Today’s meditation is a bit different. It is a fictional short story that tells of how God can use just a small, little light to fulfill His great purposes. This short little story is about a very special light-bearer that you may recognize if you read between the lines.
I hope you enjoy this slight little twist from the ordinary:
JUST ONE LITTLE STAR
(A short story written by Sheila Gail Landgraf which can be useful at Hanukkah, Christmas, Epiphany; or any other very special day)
Everything happened so very long ago, but I remember every little detail.
It was during the time of that first mighty miracle of light when The Master of The Universe separated me out from the greater light that He had miraculously provided. Before I was separated into who I am now, I got to be a part of that great and awesome event.
It was the most amazing thing!
The original light was only enough to shine for one day, but they had great faith in The Master of The Universe, and they all secretly hoped that He would help them to survive.
Those poor people! They had been through so much! They had fought and fought, many of them giving their lives in order that others could come to the Temple and worship The Master of The Universe in the way that He had commanded that He should be worshiped. He had been their God forever; since the very beginning of time; and it was only right that they should take a stand to defend His ways and their ability to worship Him in the way He chose.
Of course there were those horrid individuals that did not even believe that The Master of The Universe existed. The one in charge of them had declared himself the highest in the land. They came into the Holy Temple and desecrated everything. They brought in all of the forbidden things. There were so many detestable things that The Master did not allow, but they did not care. They came and laid their filthy idols down on the holy sacred altar and they filled the holy sacred spaces with their detestable practices.
The good people who loved The Master Of The Universe so much were appalled and they mourned and mourned for days on end. At first they seemed helpless to stop anything that this arrogant man who called himself god was doing. He ordered his armies of men to bring in fake and foreign gods made of wood, stone and silver and gold. They set them up as if they actually belonged there! This was such an abomination in the eyes of the true believers and now none of them wanted to even set foot inside the old formerly blessed and familiar places that they had once treasured, loved and adored.
I watched this take place from my lofty perch in the highest heavens only inches away from The Master of the Universe. I saw the huge tears that formed in the corners of His eyes. I saw Him cringe with disgust as they desecrated His most holy altar with all things forbidden. I saw Him control and hold back his desire to strike out and destroy the whole earth and be done with it all. I saw him quench his anger against these perverted arrogant, bold men who knew nothing of the force they tampered with. I knew He was thinking of those that He loved so much.
The Master was SO mad and disgusted when He saw these things unfold, but in all of His wisdom He did not insert Himself into the situation and He made a decision not to destroy everything in sight with His mighty vengeance. Instead; He gave the Maccabees just enough power and might to defeat those that had seemed so impossible for their little rag-tag army to defeat. Judith, their leader, had boldly inspired each soldier not to look at the size of the enemy; but to think of the size of The Master Of The Universe. Their faith overcame any fears and they saw the first great miracle from God; that of defeating the pagan king who had shook his fist in their faces and taken over their holy temple.
The whole city of Jerusalem was in joyous celebration of this seemingly impossible feat that had come to pass. Now they were finally free of this terrible man who tried to take the place of God, but they still had the stench and the smell of his perversions all through the city and all inside the temple. Would they ever rid the holy city of it?
They dug right in and worked very hard for days and days to undo all the abominable things that had been done to the temple. The stress on the Master’s face turned to a slight smile as we watched from our heavenly perch, amazed at what a few faithful men were willing and able to do for the Great Kingdom. I saw the pride in the Father’s eyes and I saw Him bless them with strength and energy.
Those mighty warriors of God cleansed and purified everything, and then they pulled out the hidden supply of holy sacred oil. This was their only hope for bringing the temple back to light from darkness.
Alas, there was only enough sacred oil for one day.
The festival of the lights had always lasted for eight days and they did not have nearly the oil that was needed.
Judith stood in the atrium and addressed the purified priests. “Little is much when God is in it.” They all nodded and again I saw the faint beginning of a smile upon the Master’s face. The priest did not flinch or hesitate. He poured the oil as he offered up a simple prayer and he lit the lamp, totally trusting God for all the rest. Then the slight smile that had begun on the face of The Master of The Universe turned into a beaming, dazzling smile!
I loved seeing the Master’s smile; and I wondered to myself what would happen now? What would He do next? What would happen when the first day came to a close and the lights could be lit no more?
“Trust Me!” The Master said, still smiling.
I was sitting there next to The Master when the end of the first day arrived. The lamps were flickering low and the wick was almost lost in the last little bit of oil. I was patiently waiting for my purpose to reveal itself as I observed everything that the Master saw. He had promised me earlier that He would soon reveal my purpose if I would just wait with Him.
I only knew that very limited amount of information; and I wondered if He would be too distracted with all that was going on with the temple. I was hopeful though. I knew He had created me for a reason and soon the beginning foundations of that purpose would be laid to bring my purpose about. I stood patiently waiting; wondering what would happen next and when my turn would come.
He winked at me for reassurance, and suddenly in that split second of time, just as the lamps were flickering low, The Master of The Universe sent me tumbling and hurling through space. With no warning at all I found myself rolling and sliding through the constellations and stars, falling right past the moon, tumbling down and changing and evolving as I went until I found myself on the earth and then inside the temple and my being was slowly dissolving into a puddle within that tiny bit of oil left in those lamps. As I morphed into a substance I had never been before I heard the sound of The Master’s voice as He shouted down from the Heavens to me.
“NOW IS YOUR TIME! SHINE LIKE YOU HAVE NEVER SHINNED BEFORE!!!!”
Those very encouraging words from The Master helped me to grasp this part of my purpose in this crazy and chaotic new set of surroundings. I began to do just what He had always taught me to do.
I started to shine!
I sent beams and beams of beautiful white light out through the arches of the temple. The shadows bounced and danced off the walls and the whole place began to light up with a new, bright and pure, holy light.
It was the most beautiful light the people had ever seen.
They fell to their knees and offered thanks, praise and worship to The Master of The Universe for sending such an amazing light into the darkness.
They marveled at the majesty of my purest light as it beamed out at them and they came and bowed low before the altar that honored the Master of The Universe again. They knew in that instant that the holy way of life was being restored to them.
Those who had survived the long and painful wait were very happy indeed. Total joy sprung from their faces as they danced and sang and celebrated all through the night and into the next day of the feast.
What an experience it was for me as one who had lain dormant in the vast halls of the heavens for so many long millennia. Now I was here among The Master’s special and holy people being as useful as possible. I knew that the Master of the Universe had determined to give these peculiar yet special people His very life in order that they might live eternally with Him one day in the future. It was unbelievable to find myself in their company and in such an honorable state. My heart was warmed from such love and my light beamed brighter and brighter.
My very small part in the whole scheme of time seemed so insignificant; but I determined to do it well. My task was so simple and humble, just shinning out my life into a restored temple, but I puffed out my chest and shinned and sparkled with all of my might!
In the midst of all the greatest moments of the Master’s story; I wanted nothing more than to please my Master in some way. I desired to see the smile on His face again because I had learned that was the greatest thing a being could ever experience. I so longed to see that smile just once more. I hoped that the angels of Heaven were enjoying His smile as I did what I was created to do, and I let all of the light I was capable of shinning come out into that great and awesome old building that had survived and kept its sacred secrets against such impossible odds.
Everyone within the temple could feel the magic of this very moment in time. They all came to gaze at the glory of the light at the end of the second sunset and were totally amazed that I was still shinning!
They were even more amazed at the end of the third day! Then came the fourth, the fifth, the sixth, the seventh and then that great last eighth day when it was taking all that I had to go on shinning yet a little while longer.
I sensed that the eighth day brought to completion my humble task for the world.
I basked in knowing that my purpose was fulfilled. I marveled as the people came and gave glory and praise to God for the hope that I had brought to them in my shinning and in being a sign from The Master that told them He was still with them and He still cared about every little thing that happened to them.
By shinning out into those sacred spaces that they had fought so hard to restore I began to feel their renewed hope.
At the end of the eighth day I felt my strength draining away and my light wavered and flickered low and I was barely holding on as a small ember of light in the great lamp when The Master came and scooped me up and took me back into the vast halls of the Heavens and wonder of all wonders; I saw the Master of The Universe smiling down at me!
Nothing was more beautiful than that smile, even if you were just embers that might never flame again. I was at peace.
He tenderly took my tired and worn parts and placed them into a little waiting place. Then He whispered softly; “Wait here until you hear Me call you again. Rest for now and in the many years yet to come because I have another great job for you to do; your purpose has only just begun.”
I was sadly thinking that my time was now over and that I might not ever get to see that glorious smile of the Master again! As happy as I was to have served well; I was not ready to be a distinguished light!
So as I drifted off to sleep I held on to His hopeful words. I really was so very, very
tired. Shinning for eight long days with all of your might certainly takes the strength right out of you! The trip back through the vast universe to be with the Master again had been a long and treacherous journey for such a young little light like me; but when I saw His smile; that had changed everything! It gave me enough renewed energy to hold on to the life that was still within me and rest.
As I rested in quiet and peace I dreamed of that glorious smile for thousands of years, until one day He came and awakened me with a kiss and when I was fully alert; He told me of my next task.
I couldn’t believe my ears when I heard the wondrous things He told me I was to do. It seemed I did have a new part to play in the great unfolding of His will for all of mankind.
I was indeed a very blessed light!
The Master Himself had even called me a star!
With all of my might I puffed out my chest and stood on my tallest beam and tried to shine like I had never done before.
I knew that my time had come!
The Master of The Universe was now in the process of unfolding His great plan of salvation for the human race, and we ALL had a part to play.
He was going to wrap Himself up in the flesh of a tiny child and come to be born in a small little shelter where the animals lived. The angels gasped when they heard this news! They quickly took their places to stand guard against any trouble from the enemy.
Those like me, who had been waiting for thousands of years to come forth, thought it an odd plan indeed; for a Great God to become a little child; but who were we to question The Master of The Universe?
We all vowed to do our very best and to bring our part of the story to life just as we had been instructed.
Just before He became a child The Master took me in His huge mighty hands and blessed me. He rolled me into a giant ball of fire and He hurled me down through countless galaxies of space right into the skies of the earth!
I landed right over the skyline of Persia and three men who were sitting directly beneath me looked up just as I landed and quickly began asking one another questions!
Later I learned they had been studying the skies for a long time for a sign of a true and mighty king.
When they saw me they danced with joy!
It was so much fun to see their excitement as they noticed my bright light. Every time I looked down they were staring right back at me with huge questioning eyes of wonder.
It was fun to watch them but I couldn’t really pay too much attention to them. I had a path all mapped out that the Master had given to me. I had studied this path for years and years. We had drawn it out together; The Master and I, and He had commanded that I memorize every little point of the destination. Now I knew why I had learned these things so very, very long ago, and it all came right back to me as I sailed through the dark skies leaving bright and blazing trails of light behind me.
So it was that I began my exciting journey through the velvety night skies; doing all the while exactly what The Master had taught me to do so very well. I was outshining all of the other stars in the sky as I sailed right past them and made my way toward a tiny little town called Bethlehem.
Those three wise men were following me all the way never losing sight of my light. They followed me every inch of the way until at last they too came to see and hear and know all the things that I was allowed to behold from my excellent front row seat up in the balcony of the sky.
The night began with the great sound of the angels singing glory to God, and soon a group of shepherds joined in with them, proclaiming the birth of a king! I remembered those last instructions from The Master; “when you hear the angels sing and you see the shepherds in the field, shine brighter!” I remembered and I did! I shone and shone and shone, like I had never shone before; and those wise men began to notice! They traveled on following my light right to the end of the path.
Then we all heard what we had been listening for all along! It was the beautiful cry of a tiny little baby boy who had been wrapped in swaddling clothes and laid in a manger, as if he were just the simplest form of food!
And my heart leaped for joy!
I stopped right above that little shelter where he lay and I heard his sweet Mother singing a lullaby as the shepherds and the angels looked on with delight.
And I stayed there just gazing down upon the child from that moment on. I stayed and I shinned my light over Him each night as he grew and grew and I watched as the wise men slowly made their way toward Him too. They not only followed him to Bethlehem; but they also followed him to the places he went after he left Bethlehem.
They had traveled for months on camels laden down with awesome gifts for a King that was a child.
When they finally arrived; almost 18 months later; they brought Him gifts!
Oh dear; what could I, just a lowly little star have to give? I had not thought of bringing the child a gift.
My light would have to be my gift.
It was all that I had to offer, but it was enough light for each one that The Master had appointed to be able to find the child.
Because my light was there; they could see the King of Kings!
My gift was good!
They came with their gifts in hand and I stayed in the skies above them and shinned my bits of light as far and wide as I could.
Never had I worked so hard to be a light!
Never had I felt such joy in the meaning of my whole being!
I was doing what The Master had designed me to do. I had found my place in the story at last, and my purpose was almost fulfilled.
How could this be? That the Master of the Universe had put Himself into the tiny form of a lowly child and came to live among the livestock in the middle of Bethlehem?
Could that tiny child really be Him?
I looked as close as I could. I shinned all the light that I could muster up in order to examine the child and see if the Master of the Universe could be found in him.
He was just an ordinary baby wrapped in an ordinary cloth surrounded by ordinary people.
I was almost disappointed when I looked closer, and then it happened. That tiny little child smiled!
When His face lit up with the smile I knew!
It was Him!
I had seen that smile before; thousands of years earlier when I had first began my purpose. I would have known it anywhere!
There is no other smile like the Master’s smile.
And guess what?
We ALL recognized it!
Those wise men, and those shepherds and all of the angels and the ordinary people and the dirty, smelly animals; we ALL saw and knew it was the smile of the Master saying “hello” to a world that had waited forever.
Upon seeing that smile of the King, and fulfilling my purpose for being; I suddenly burst into a million little fragments of light that went into a million different corners of the universe. Each fragment had seen the Master and KNEW that a Savior had come. Each fragment of light had a little piece of the story to share about the greatest miracle of all; that of a child born in Bethlehem one cold winter night beneath a star.
So now I rest; scattered in a million pieces across the universe, dispersed into tiny shards and pieces of fragmented light. I wait quietly in this strange state until I can hear The Master’s voice again, and until I know it is time to gather all of the pieces together and shine out into a brand new story and give the whole earth yet another great Epiphany