Name the Stars

Well – here we are – ready to celebrate Christmas. Or more likely, in my case, probably running around like crazy, trying to finish up all of the last minute details… I don’t know what it’s like at your house, but somehow, no matter how much I plan, or how early I start – nevertheless I find myself with gifts still unpurchased (not to mention unwrapped – and don’t even mention the ones I had planned to make, sigh), cookies still unbaked, holiday greeting cards unwritten, and a thousand other things that need to be finished before the morning of the 25th. There’s so much to do! It seems overwhelming – and exhausting.

But recently, I’ve been reading in the Psalms – and I came across this line in Psalm 147:

4 He determines the number of the stars
    and calls them each by name.

Wow! Talk about an overwhelming task! To think, when I am gazing at the heavens on a clear, cold, cloudless night – delighting in those hundreds? thousands? millions? of twinkling lights, that God has counted each and every one of those stars. Even more than that, he has decided how many there are, how many there ever were, and ever will be. And even more than that, he knows them each by name. Every.Single.One. Which really makes my list of unfinished tasks seem completely beside the point, doesn’t it?

And this same God – the one who holds the universe in his hand, who creates and counts stars and knows them all by name – somehow this God, this mighty and powerful and awesome God has chosen to save the world through the birth of a baby. “What a strange way to save the world” say the lyrics of one contemporary Christmas song.

Maybe so. Maybe this plan doesn’t make much sense to me. (I’m not sure I understand naming all the stars either, although I’m sure the stars appreciate it.) But it doesn’t really matter if I understand it or not. God understands it. In the next verse, the psalmist continues:

5 Great is our Lord and mighty in power;
    his understanding has no limit.

So, whether I finish all the projects on my list or not, Christmas will come anyway. Because the God of the universe ordains it to be so - God’s got this. Maybe this year, I can stay focused on that, instead of the zillion and one details that seem to want to creep in. Maybe this year, my job is to just enjoy – and say, with my whole heart full of love and gratitude,

1 Praise the Lord.[a]
How good it is to sing praises to our God,
    how pleasant and fitting to praise him!

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