Exhausted I sit on the cold concrete steps of the porch.

A moment is what I long for. A minute in the dark by myself, to breathe. The icy north wind whistles a lonely tune through the bare trees above me. It numbs my nose, ears, fingers.

Numb my heart a little too.

This year has been nothing as expected. 2020.

Yet expecting is what it has been. Expecting extraordinary patience. Expecting herculean strength. Expecting us to hold it all together. To make normal what isn’t normal. To toggle seamlessly between homeschool teacher, mom, wife, worker, referee, chef, nurse, stylist, housekeeper, counselor, speech therapist, you name it, all while masking up and social distancing. It’s like holding the reigns of a thousand wild horses. Even the best can’t escape a little rope burn.

I search the sky above me. I look out past the orange glow of the streetlamp. Give me something, Lord. Some trifle of hope, a sliver of peace.

Off in the distance, dimly, faintly, I see it. A single, flickering star.

And I wonder.

Did Mary search the skies too? Did she sit outside, wrapped in a blanket, sleepless baby in her arms?

Mary must have seen it. The Star of Bethlehem. The wise men used it to guide them to Jesus. They moved ever closer to that small Jewish town by watching it rise, by following until right above Mary’s house the star remained (Matthew 2:9).

It persisted and with it, hope. It shone down and with its light, illumination. Only in darkness would it rise with such captivating splendor. Only in the loneliness and obscurity of Mary’s circumstances was it needed to lead the way. And all Mary had to do was look up. To lift her eyes, to see, to cry out to God, “Where does my help come from?”

The Star would answer her back.

Where is God calling you to look this Christmas? What star does He have for you to see?

Maybe it’s a scripture verse. Maybe a text from a friend. Maybe it’s the laughter of a child or a walk in the cold, night air. Whatever it is, a star is waiting. He’s beckoning you to lift your eyes. And when you do, you’ll find Him. Even if dim at first, look anyway.

Mary never had it easy in her life. She, too, struggled and grew weary as she raised the Savior of the world. But she knew where her help came from. And this Christmas God wants you to know too. Long ago, the Star of Bethlehem shone down upon Mary and her baby, but the Star of David—Jesus Himself—today He shines in you.

“I lift my eyes…Where will my help come from? My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.” Psalm 121:1

*Originally published by First Baptist Church of Tulsa as part of their Christmas Eve services.