The stars tell us stories. Not astrological stories. I mean real, true stories given to us by the Creator! Yes, there are stories in the stars, from Creation, to Abraham, to the Bethlehem Star, to the story of our lives too!
Remember dot-to-dot pictures as a kid? The advanced dot-to-dots with hundreds of numbers are impossible to figure out! Yet, as you connect each dot, a picture takes shape. The image comes into focus, and you begin to see the artist’s intention.
Early star gazers had a huge dot-to-dot spread before them as they looked up at the stars. Eventually, people in ancient times connected those dots into “star pictures” they’d use to tell time, find direction, and… tell stories.
The stars tell stories of God’s glory
When you look at the stars you get an idea of why David wrote, “The heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament showeth his handiwork!”
When I look at the small dots of my life – moments, days, and years, I wonder what does it add up to? It’s hard for me to get a picture of how God’s using all those dots to create His “big picture” plan.
Do you feel that way too? Do you wonder what is God doing with your life?
We’re all in different places:
- Some of us are looking towards years and years of days.
- Some of us are in the middle of a big jumble of days.
- Others of us are looking back at a lifetime of moments.
It’s in the human heart to search for meaning. The Bible teaches that our small moments matter – they are God’s plot points in His design for eternity.
Our lifetime of “dot-to-dot” connections begins with all those starry lights in the sky. Genesis 1:14 says, And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:
God placed us in a calendar of time to provide order and meaning and a way to measure our lifetimes. Psalm 90:12 says, So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.
We measure what matters. And what we choose to measure matters.
So are we measuring failures and impossibilities and discouragement? Unrelated little dots? No! God wants us to know He’s positioned our seasons, days, and years into His plan.
The stars tell stories of God’s Direction
Constellations rotate around a fixed point: the “Pole star,” or, North Star. Certain star patterns are always visible, like the Big Dipper (part of a larger constellation). The Big Dipper points directly to the Pole, or North, star all the time!
Through the night, constellations move in a giant circle – dipping below the horizon and back up again – always around that fixed point. Some constellations are only visible during certain seasons. Before calendars, farmers knew when to plant and harvest from signs in the sky. In Bible times, people were used to looking UP for direction.
So in a spinning galaxy of stars and planets, God provided constellations (star pictures) to point directly to a fixed star – so travelers could orient themselves and find their way!
Stars are a beautiful reminder! When we see the stars in the night sky, remember to look UP to our heavenly Father as our fixed point for wisdom and direction.
Psalm 8:3-5 – When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; What is man, that thou art mindful of him?
God, who masterfully mapped the moon and stars in space, is mindful of the moments of our lives too!
The stars tell us of seasons
It’s hard to NOT think of one IMPORTANT star that tells the story of Christmas. Christmas is a time that can be weary, chaotic, busy. Even isolated.
Picture Mary and Joseph on a tiresome journey through a busy land. Walking to Bethlehem is like walking to New York City from Hartford. It’s 97 miles, or 33 hours of brisk walking! Now imagine being nine months pregnant. They arrived to find nowhere to stay and a baby on the way! Talk about weary, busy, and chaotic! How does this fit the prophecy they’d received?
Nine months before, Mary received the biggest news of her young country-girl life! When Gabriel the angel appeared with huge – and alarming! – news, she “cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be.” (Luke 2:29).
She asks, “How shall this be!?” How would the God of Heaven, Creator of stars and worlds, make Himself so small as to be contained by humanity? By Mary’s earthly measure, this seemed impossible!
The angel’s answer? The Holy Ghost. God’s going to do it! And how did Mary respond? “Be it unto me according to thy Word.” Even though she couldn’t understand the season she was entering. She says, “Yes. God, you can use me in your story.”
The angel adds this beautiful notation – Mary will be overshadowed. Overshadowing means covered with protection! Sheltered by the influence of someone powerful.
When we have no earthly understanding of HOW—God does it! We are also sheltered and protected.
The same powerful Creator who placed stars to tell stories, has carefully positioned us to tell His story, too!
Fast forward: nine months after saying YES, Mary’s on a 33 hour hike to a strange town. In 9 months she’d gone from being a young country girl to being a wife, mother, and traveler.
The Bible says, “And it came to pass…” One season after the next. Mary could never have predicted her life – and she continues to wonder at it!
We can’t see ahead either. We have seasons we walk through that aren’t clear.
- Maybe God’s asked you to walk through a difficult and costly season of life.
- Maybe you’re moving into a new season and feeling uncertainty.
- Maybe you’re leaving a season you really enjoyed and are sad to see it go.
The Bible reminds us there’s seasons of laughter and sorrow. Seedtime and harvest. These cycles are pictures of God using Time to bring about His Will. Through moments big and small, He’s aware of the Big Picture and your place in it.
A story told in days
And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. (Luke 2:6)
Mary’s just had a baby while crammed into an animal shelter. Here come foreign men from the countryside pushing their way in to see Jesus. They’ve all seen angels. It’s a miracle! Everyone’s rejoicing! And Mary?
The Bible tells us she’s quiet. She “kept all these things and pondered them in her heart.” Pondering is a quiet activity; it means “to weigh in the mind. To consider and compare the circumstances or consequences of an event, or the importance of the reasons for or against a decision.”
As the shepherds left, I bet she weighed that decision to “say yes” in her mind – considering what it could mean.
Luke 2:21 says, when eight days were accomplished, Mary and Joseph brought Jesus to the temple. These were 8 specific days measured out by God according to the Levitical law hundreds of years before. At the temple on that 8th day, Mary hears a special prophecy- Simeon declares Jesus will be a “Light to the Gentiles.” All Mary can do is marvel! Still not certain, she has a growing sense of wonder at seeing God’s intention begin to take shape.
Oh and? The Light to the Gentiles – that’s US he’s talking about! God already had a plan that included US from the beginning! This was not just a big day for Mary, but a big day for US too!
We cannot diminish God. But we can devalue His design if we measure our days as insignificant. Our days ARE small dots in the picture of eternity. But they are also part of God’s design.
A story told in years
Days turn into years. Year after year, they travel to Jerusalem (the same route as to Bethlehem) to worship at the temple. One year, they travel to Jerusalem when Jesus is 12. And Mary and Joseph LOSE him in the crowd!
After three days of searching, they find Him in the temple. Jesus asks “How is it that ye sought me? Wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business?” Luke tells us “they understood not… but his mother kept all these sayings in her heart.” All these moments in Mary’s life, sprinkled like stars through Luke, show us a picture of her story.
Mary still doesn’t understand. But she’s trusting God! Just like us, Mary had questions, uncertainties, and unknowns about her seasons, days, and years.
The next time we see Mary is years later. In John 2, she’s with 30-year-old Jesus, at a wedding in Cana. This is a far place from that dark night giving birth, or those confusing days as a new mom, or when her pre-teen son disappeared into the crowds.
The last words of Mary are to the servants at this wedding. She is no longer asking what or how or why. After a lifetime of pondering, Mary says, “Whatsoever He saith unto you – do it”
Mary tell us: Say yes! Say yes to God. Say yes to what seems impossible. Say yes to letting God design your life.
Your life has been drawn by the hand of God, each moment positioned carefully to bring you closer to Him.
Here’s one final image of Mary. It’s 33 years after Jesus was born, and she’s made that trek back to Jerusalem yet again for the Passover. This year, however, instead of worshiping in the Temple, she’s standing at the foot of the cross. Not even the disciples understood this event in that moment.
Jesus, just before dying, looks down at Mary, standing next to the disciple John, and gives Mary into John’s care. From that hour, Mary’s home was with John (John 20:27).
In the middle of saving the entire world, God wasn’t too busy to see Mary, to know the loss she was feeling. He wasn’t too busy overshadow and protect her by providing her a son and a home. Every season, every day, every year, of Mary’s life shows God’s provision and design.
The dot-to-dot pictures circling around an emerging image…
The stars revolving around the center Pole star…
This is how God works.
Sometimes, I think God has us move in circles, so He can show us the Big Picture emerging from all the points of our life.
We’re all wanting, like Mary, to know what it all means. Maybe we won’t know for many seasons, days, or years, or until heaven. But each day matters in God’s timetable.
The same God who put stories in the stars, and a baby in a mother’s arms, makes meaning of our seasons, our days and our years, too.
Stories in the Stars – A Poem
Stories in the stars,
A baby in a mother’s arms,
Seasons, days, and years—
A Child born to calm all fears.
Maker of the stars,
Positioned by Your hand,
Worlds on worlds are yours—
Still you have a mind for man.
Promise in the stars,
Each one tells Your story
To each heart that hears:
A Savior born! to God the Glory!
Stories in the stars,
His story brings us solace.
The Word to us appears—
A Light to those in darkness.