Christmas, 2010 (Revised)
The STAR was a part of our first Christmas celebration after our marriage. It was new, simple, but very beautiful.
It was bought for about 49 cents (remember this was 1961) and was a simple plastic star attached to a hollow cardboard tube that would fit over the highest point at the top of the tree.
That first Christmas in our college apartment, it sat atop of the cedar tree we had brought from Alice’s father’s farm. The “Star” that symbolized God’s revelation, the light of His presence, the guiding light to the Wise men who came searching for “him who was to be born King of the Jews.”
Year after year it sat atop of our tree which, after that first year, was the spruce that comes from the North Carolina mountains. Our array of decorations grew – lights, ornaments, homemade trinkets from Vacation Bible School, and various mementos of friends scattered around the world – but the Star was always there.
We have pictures of each of our children 2 or 3 years old being held up high enough to put the Star in place. It became a very real part of our celebration at Christmas time. After all the decorations were on the tree and the lights were shining, one of the children would say, “Get the Star.” And they would talk among themselves about whose time it was to put the Star in its special place.
Years past, our children grew into high school and college age, and the little Star began to show its age. It was now held together by scotch tape. One year, I decided it was time to get a “new” tree-top-piece. My daughter would not hear of it. “Dad, the Star is a Coleman tradition. We can’t replace the Star.”
So, for a few more years, the Star, albeit tattered and torn, stayed in its prominent spot atop the tree, throwing its light into our living room. Our children were right. It had become a tradition of Christmas at our house.
After Jo’s marriage to Roger and the beginning of their own “traditions” surrounding Christmas, the Star became hers. It is almost 50 years old now and is completely retired and stored with her Christmas things. She has a beautiful treetop ornament, and so do the boys.
If you visit our house at Christmas, you’ll see a beautiful Angel, a gift to Alice from some of her teacher-friends, sitting atop our tree, watching over all the events of Christmas in our house, and you can almost hear the angelic chorus to the shepherds,
“Behold, I bring you good news . . . Glory to God in the Highest, peace and good will to men on earth.”
But ask our children what family traditions they remember most about Christmas as they were growing up and they’ll all mention the Star that became for them a symbol of Christmas, a reminder of God’s love and grace, a light lighting the way to Jesus, and the light shining up, down, and to both sides (can you visualize it?) forming a Cross.
Ask my children about Christmas and they will think of the Star. Ask Alice and me and we’ll talk about our three sitting and looking with a great deal of wonder at the Star on our tree.
Back then and even today, when they and their families “are asleep all snug in their beds,” we cannot say for sure that “visions of sugar plums danced in their heads.”
We would bet, though, that the Star – a part of God’s revelation and a part of their growing up years at Christmas time – would be a part of their Christmas dreams!
About the Author
G. Byrns Coleman is Professor of Religion and Chair of Department of Religion & Philosophy, Wingate University, Wingate, NC . He is also a member of Wingate Baptist Church .
If you have never made the commitment to receive the love and life-changing experience of Jesus Christ, please take a moment to go here and take the first steps to salvation.