Tuesday, December 22, 2020

On Winters Night When Stars Come Out

As we age, our past memories come forward.  I am starting to remember events in my life that were long forgotten.  It could be that we are staying safe at home, therefore we aren't making a lot of new memories and we are relying on days gone by.  It could be what naturally happens with the aging brain.  I remember my parents, particularly my mom, recalling story after story of her young life.  My regret is that we didn't record her stories or at least write them down.  At times we tried to bring out the tape recorder, but she wasn't comfortable doing that.  It's hard to be spontaneous with a microphone in your face. 

I recently saw on Facebook that the Christmas Star or the Star of Bethlehem would appear in the night sky for the first time since 1226.  I decided to research it a little bit.  On December 21, which is the beginning of the winter solstice, two of the largest planets in our solar system will align.  These two planets are Saturn and Jupiter.  This will give the appearance of a very bright star.  In the middle ages the idea of planets hadn't been formulated yet so all bright spots in the sky were considered stars.  This is a very simplified version of this rare occurrence, and there are many theories surrounding it.  During the past two nights I tried to get a photo, but we had a cloud cover in our part of Wisconsin and it couldn't be seen. 

The appearance of the Star of Bethlehem sparked a memory from about 1956 when I was nine years old and my sister had just turned six.  We lived in Black River Falls Wisconsin and attended a little one room church.  


My sister and I were part of the Christmas Eve service.  I presume there were many other children involved but my memory only includes my little sister and me.  I remember my parents dressing up and of course my sister and I had matching outfits.  I'm not sure, but I think we had a type of choir robe to wear over our clothing to look more angelic.  We practiced so hard that I remember my sister and my recitation to this day.

She went first.  She stood in front of the congregation and said:

Welcome everybody,

Bells sound sweet and clear.

Christmas is so lovely,

May God Bless us Here

I don't know where I was in the program.  All that is lost.  I imagine I was full of anxiety.  I think you are born with a fear of public speaking or you're not.  I was probably scared to death and over prepared because I remember what I recited as well.

On winters night

when stars come out and shine upon the snow,

I think of how the Bethlehem star shown out

long years ago.

The star God sent to to lead wise men 

to where the Christ child lay,

Born in lowly manger bed

on that first Christmas day.

Then thankfully I lay my head

upon my pillow white,

and pray that God his children

lead us to the morning light.


It is crazy what we remember.  I also remember the question I was asked when I was confirmed, yet I don't remember the name of my third grade teacher.  I hardly remember much of anything about that year except that it may have been the year I had a pipe thrown at me by an unruly boy and chipped my front tooth.  I also had to have my lip stitched up from the experience.  Maybe I had temporary amnesia.  Don't ask me today's date either.  Thank goodness I have a watch that tells me such things. I had an appointment with the orthopedic doctor to make sure my leg was totally healed.  Thank goodness they called, or I would have totally missed it.  I am also following in my mothers footsteps because I tell my family and friends the same story more than once.  People are usually kind enough to just let me go, but I can tell by the response that they have heard it before.  I don't talk to that many people anymore so you would think I could remember who I told what.  

The year 2020 has been a true challenge from the COVID 19 pandemic to the Presidential election.  Things happened we couldn't even imagine.  The message is to live each day to it's fullest because you never know what lies ahead.




(doubt if 2021 could be worse, but who knows)

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