Wanderers – 12

Note:  “Wanderers” can also be found in my book “My Best Christmas and other stories of  the season” at Amazon.com.


Betty arched her arm up over her head toward the top of the mural.  Ruby looked.  She took a step forward.  She noticed the three lights in the sky.  They seemed to explode with energy that drew her attention.  Each one unique.  Each one leading Ruby’s eyes somewhere. Leading her somewhere in the mural to something that she needed, something she couldn’t yet grasp. 

 “What do you see?” said Betty.

 Ruby said, “I don’t know.  They all look the same.”  She stared.  “Except that one, the one in the center. It looks like a bird. An eagle. Like on Grampa’s jacket and it looks like it’s stomping out a fire.”

“And…” said Betty.

“Oh, that one.” Ruby pointed to the one on the right.  “That one looks like it has, has…” She giggled. “A coffee pot? Yes, a pot like in the diner’s sign in the window… and, in the picture of that guy over there.”

“And…” said Betty.  “What about that one, my favorite one?”  She winked at Thomas.

“That one…?” Ruby paused and studied the radiant blob. “Spots! Spots of rainbow colors poked in the light.  Blended together, but I can still see each one!”

“Yessiree, hon.  You are getting closer,” Betty said.  “What else?”

Ruby’s eyes ranged over Betty’s art work, oblivious to the handful of customers now watching as Ruby continued unwrapping the gift in front of her. Then, there it was.  Ruby squinted, then looked away, then looked again at the lights in the sky.  She stepped back. Looked. “Oh!” she said. Her lips went from circle to upward curve, a smile.  She bounced back to the mural immersed in the growing crescendo of discovery.  She reached for the stars.  Her fingers traced the radiance from each one, separate, coming from different directions, converging into one, subtle, yet definite beam of light.  Her hands followed it, journeying down the mural to something, something she had seen but really hadn’t noticed before.

Thomas and Betty watched.  They knew Ruby was almost there.  They watched as Ruby’s eyes, led by the light, gazed at the baby, wrapped in an old work jacket with the name ‘Harry’ sewn on it.

“What’s that?” Ruby said, startled by her own voice.  On the mural, with one hand, she touched the baby’s face and then traced the baseball cap covering the baby’s feet.  “A Red Sox hat,” she whispered.  With the other hand she reached up and felt the smooth red splotch on her own hat. “Just like mine,” she whispered, awe in her voice.  

 As dawn’s morning light filtered through the low gray clouds and crept through the diner’s windows one more source of light in the mural manifested itself.  Now Ruby saw it.  Light coming from the baby in the manger, mingling with the other streams of light, yet now being the dominant light, drew Ruby’s eye once again to the baby, wrapped in Harry’s coat, with a Red Sox hat just like hers and … “Just like mine!” Ruby said. “The baby has red hair just like mine!’

The morning drizzle turned into pelting raindrops crashing into the front window.  The sidewalk puddles reflected the neon glow of “Harry’s Diner” outside.  The jingle bells on the front door announced the morning’s next visitor.

”Meira!” said Thomas, grinning ear to ear.  

Meira smiled, squeezed Ruby like she would hang on to her always and forever.  Then she leaned back, looked at her daughter and said, “You’re wearing my favorite hat!”  She laughed and knew that her story had been told.

“Mom!” Ruby rushed across the room and threw herself at her mom. Meira flipped down her rain soaked hood exposing a cascade of red.  “Mom!  Red hair! That’s you in the picture!  That’s you, isn’t it?!

As they headed to the door, granddaughter, daughter and father, Thomas turned back to Betty with a look that said everything. A tear escaped from the corner of his eye as he touched his hand to his heart and silently said, “Thank you,” to his best friend.


 Monday, once again in science class, Ruby leaned forward, her chin resting on her hands. Since the weekend with her grandfather, Ruby’s outlook on life had taken a turn for the better.  Even her interest in astronomy increased in spite of her misgivings about her teacher.  With her vocabulary quiz behind her, she now  tried to squeeze everything she could from Mr. King’s astronomy lecture.

He droned on, “… which is what some scholars believe to be the best explanation for the ‘star’ the magi followed.” He peeked over the half-glasses perched on the end of his nose at a now-interested Ruby Jensen. “Planets,  or wanderers if you will, joining together, leading magi to the Messiah….”

“Yep,” Ruby thought. “That’s right. That’s right.” And then for perhaps the first time ever, in that class, Ruby smiled.

Wanderers – 11

Note:  “Wanderers” can also be found in my book “My Best Christmas and other stories of  the season” at Amazon.com.


Later, when they got together and talked they would wonder.  Not so much wonder about how the little one found its way to that lonely nativity.  That they would never know.  Not even to wonder about what kind of desperate person would abandon such a precious child on such a wicked night.  They would realize the futility of trying to answer questions that, for them, were unanswerable.  So they would set aside their speculations and judgements, never to know the whole story.

For them, the wonder and the wondering came when they considered how they, the wanderers, all desperately needing something that night, came together at that place and that time.  All helpless in their own way.  All giving to each other a glimmer of hope that dark, dark night and for the days to come.

Ruby felt a warm presence, as if a flood of warmth was being released to thaw the frozen scene in front of her, to unlock its meaning. 

“Ruby,” She heard the storyteller call her name. “Ruby, this is your story. And my story and your grandfather’s, and Harry’s… and your mother’s.” The voice, the storyteller, was Betty…

“Do you see it, Ruby?” said Betty, quietly.  She wrapped her arm around the child. “Do you get it?”  Betty walked Ruby back away from the mural.  “Look again.” The swirls of color that played around the edges of the mural and danced with each other as if one could not exist without the other.  Once again Ruby was being drawn in for another look. The coldness of the scene warmed as they took a step forward, as a glimmer of understanding dawned in the twelve year old’s mind. 

“Do you see it?” Thomas said as he walked up to the pair. He took Betty’s hand and gave it a squeeze.  He sensed that the fog of the early morning was clearing from Ruby’s brain.  They took one step closer to the mural, then another.  Ruby’s eyes raked the painting, examining every square inch again, looking for the clue to the mystery that, it seemed to her, everyone else knew. Yet, she was still in the dark.

She probed the dark corners of the stable.  She was hooked and wanted to know what Betty and Grampa already knew. She wondered about the blurred images of the shepherds, animals and the parents of the child in the manger.  What was that about?  She looked again at the light hanging from the pole standing over the nativity scene.  Its light was dispersed shining on an old wreck of a minivan hung up on a pile of snow.  

What was artist Betty trying to show? There was something being said, but something Ruby was not seeing.  And, probably for the first time she would admit that she wanted to know more.

Wanderers – 9

Note:  “Wanderers” can also be found in my book “My Best Christmas and other stories of  the season” at Amazon.com.


Harry slowly opened his eyes.  In the dimly lit stable he glimpsed his fellow guests standing motionless, gazing at something in the middle of the small, cold room.  As he gathered his flagging courage, he gathered his feet up under him and stood.  He kept his eyes on the others, watching for any signs of trouble, any signs that they might be aware of his presence. 

His eyes focused ahead, he stopped, frozen in his tracks.  Something big was next to him.  His addled mind envisioned what couldn’t be. Or could it?  Out of the corner of his eye he saw  a four-legged creature with a curved neck, it’s back grotesquely mounded into a tall hump.  Harry inched away from the silent beast, hoping not to disturb it.  He continued forward.

As quietly as he could he made his way to the circle of strangers.  He didn’t want to disturb them and put himself in danger. Yet curiosity won out.  Who were these people?  Why so silent? What were they looking at?  

Nervously, he stood on tiptoes outside the circle trying to see what was so interesting.  Harry leaned in to look.  “Oh!  Excuse me,” he said to a short, round guy dressed in a robe, holding a long hooked stick. He readjusted the bill of his hat which had poked the solid, silent stranger.  He leaned to look around him.  He saw it, saw him.

The box was filled with straw and something else.  Now ignoring the silent crowd, Harry slinked forward and saw the baby lying motionless in the manger.  His whisper broke through the silence in the stable.  “Jesus?  Baby Jesus?”

Then the light broke through.  A different kind of light than what was seeping into the nativity structure outside of the First Presbyterian Church of Ripley. Gradually, he realized where he was.  But, why was he there?  What led him to this place?  He knew that he locked up the diner.  He knew he needed to get home, to a warm place.  He knew he was cold.  And then he heard what sounded like a distant siren piercing the sound of the wind outside.  He turned to look.  And that’s when he saw it, saw her.

The tattered box was filled with clothes, a hodge-podge of strips of this and that and something else.  It wasn’t a distant siren, but the keening of a baby, a different baby that froze his heart.  Harry inched forward and saw her crying in a cardboard box, a thin halo of red hair showing from the bonnet covering her tiny head.  Her feet had kicked away the clothes stuffed around her sock-covered feet.  Once again his whisper broke through the silence in the stable.  “Oh, my.  What am I going to do with you?”

Harry bent over, peered down at the child and scratched his head.  “What am I going to do with you?” he said again. The cold wind, blunted by the thin walls of the stable crept in.  Harry shivered.  Deliberately, he removed his hat and placed it over the baby’s uncovered feet.  Then he reached around the box hooking his icy fingers under it and lifted.  Brought face to face with the little one, he carefully made his way past the shepherds, past the magi, past Mary and Joseph and the baby who was lying in the manger, to the back corner of the stable.  He set the box down.  He took off his coat, sacrificing his only means of warmth and wrapped her up.  Sitting down, arms around the box and rocking the child, he closed his eyes, perhaps for the last time.

Wanderers – 8

Note:  “Wanderers” can also be found in my book “My Best Christmas and other stories of  the season” at Amazon.com.


Her car wasn’t great.  A minivan, actually. Not the latest model.  Actually quite old.  Dark brown originally. Mostly rust covered now. The driver’s door hardly stayed shut anymore without  anchoring it to the concrete block on the passenger side floor.  But it was all she had and home was home.  And to make it worse, Betty had just skated off the slippery street up onto a snow bank. It was after midnight. She pounded on the steering wheel and cried.

How did she get here, she wondered.  When did the downward spiral begin?  When did she go from employed artist to struggling artist to artist-without-a-job?  Was it when the city downsized to save taxpayer money and eliminated her position?  Was it when she no longer had been able to pick up enough part time jobs to keep food on the table and pay the rent?  Perhaps it was her decision to pursue an art major at Ripley College, rather than following in the family business?  How did she get here?  Alone.  All her worldly possessions packed in her junker of a van, piled into a snowbank. And why?  So close to Christmas no less.

That Friday, a week before Christmas, found Thomas in a similar world of despair.   The place was empty at that time of night.  He looked around. Then decided. Something told him to stop.  He was close to the edge. He knew it.  His despair drove him to this point.  He struggled with that voice in the back of his head, yet he felt that what he was about to do was the right thing.

It was the self-loathing that drove Thomas Start to walk from home to the neighborhood Corner Bar that night.  It pushed him to try to erase his pain in whatever way he could.  Time to end it?  He argued with the voice, back and forth, one drink after the other.

 Sure. Sure. There was nothing he could have done.  The house was fully engaged, engulfed in flames.  Nobody could go back in there.  He couldn’t go back, at least that’s what they all said.  But wasn’t it his own selfishness that held him back?  Thomas was so, so sorry that the little three year old boy had died in the fire.  He was so, so sorry he couldn’t save him.  When Thomas had heard the awful report about the child it had crushed him again. Another child lost. A child he couldn’t take in his arms and save. Like the ones he and Ruth had so desperately begged God to save for them during her pregnancies, this one too was now lost. 

The voice was winning.  Somewhere from the depths of his being, he was being pushed.  Pushed to put one foot in front of the other and go.  Pushed to go somewhere unknown.  Pushed, but led to do the right thing, whatever it was.   So,  it was time to go, before… well, just before.  Thomas stumbled to the door, opened it to the clanging of the hanging metal beer mugs wishing him a dismal ‘merry Christmas.’  He shrugged on his Ripley Fire Department coat, tugged at his Cubs hat and staggered out into the wintry blast, soon to find his way.

Wanderers – 7

Note:  “Wanderers” can also be found in my book “My Best Christmas and other stories of  the season” at Amazon.com.


And what a story that mural told about that night a lifetime ago; a week before Christmas.  The night was bitterly cold.  The north wind howled through the canyons of downtown Ripley.  The snow rode the brisk wind like a plague of thousands of tiny frozen stinging insects looking for any bare skin, intent on biting whomever they met.  No one was out on a night like this.  No one, unless you were confused, homeless, in despair, or abandoned.  Our wanderers, Harry, Betty, Thomas and the one other were in place.  Unknown to them they had been readied to play their roles in this unfolding plan, this necessary convergence that would make all the difference.   

Harry Spaulding. His workday was completed. The last pan washed. Everything was set out and ready for the next morning’s Saturday regulars.  His end-of-the-day routine planted firmly in his brain left no doubt that all would be as it should be at the diner, his diner.  The diner he owned and had run for many years.

He grabbed his coat, adjusted his baseball cap, stepped out of the door and clicked the lock. With the click, Harry’s brain wandered off into another unknown world.  Unknown, yet becoming more and more familiar as the disease in his brain gradually, stealthily advanced.

He knew where he needed to go. Home. However, tired from the day’s work, confusion set in.  He was unsure of exactly which way to go and by what means to get there. Then he saw the rusty, snow covered old bike leaning up against the dumpster. That must be it. He recalled riding his bike from his home to, well, everywhere. So just like years ago, when he was 8, he walked past his parked Chevy Impala and hopped on the bike and headed home, ignoring the bite of the December night.

The winter wind pushed him along, down the alley towards the street. Fortunately, Hays Park was empty of traffic at that late hour, because he shot across its lanes and continued down the alley on the other side. At the next street he turned right and a block later made a left. Several blocks later he was pedaling into the teeth of the biting gale. The wind tore at him. Harry reached up to save his precious Red Sox hat which caused him to lean left, then to the right. The wobble caused the fat bike tires to lose their purchase on the icy street. Harry jerked and turned the handlebars in the direction of the skid, then hit the curb and flew biscuits over gravy landing facedown in a pile of snow shoveled next to the nativity scene in front of the First Presbyterian Church of Ripley. 

Panicked, Harry imagined icy daggers sent by some malevolent being to do him harm.  Harry desperately looked around for a safe place to ride out the storm. He pawed through the snow pile, lifted his head and saw it.  Filtered by the driving snow, the street light hanging from the pole bathed the structure.  The structure that would be his salvation.  The light led the way. Harry followed.

Breathlessly, Harry scrambled to the shed.  He scrunched himself into a straw-filled corner of the small building. Shaking with fear he wrapped his arms around himself and waited for his pursuers … waited… waited…  He squeezed his eyes tightly shut, hoping that it would make them all disappear;  for Harry was not alone. Oh, no, he was not alone.

Wanderers – 6

Note: There are 12 sections to this story that will be posted starting December 26, ending on January 6, the day of Epiphany. “Wanderers” can also be found in my book “My Best Christmas and other stories of the season” at Amazon.com.


Among the dozen or so portraits, Ruby’s eyes lighted on a picture of a guy. He was older, she could tell by the gray hair sticking out beneath the back of his blue baseball hat turned backwards on his head.  At that Ruby perked up a bit. Her lips almost broke into her first smile of the morning as she thought of this old guy with the backwards hat being a member of some gang of young thugs. 

It was a full length picture of the guy.  What drew Ruby’s eye wasn’t the fact that he was wearing a white, grease stained apron.  It was his face and especially his eyes that caught her.  He was holding a pot of coffee, like the one that Betty was using to dose her customers.  There was a twinkle in his eyes, yet at the same time Betty captured with her brush a vacant distant look. Ruby glanced from his face to the coffee pot and back to his face.  His kind face said something like, “This is all I have to offer, but it’s yours if you want it.” 

“That’s Harry,” a gravelly voice said. Ruby jumped.  Arnie poked his head through the serving window and said, “That’s Harry Spaulding.  He used to own this place.  You know, before Betty.  Before he, uh, well you know.” He tossed an order of scrambled eggs, wheat toast and a side of bacon on the shelf and went back to his griddle. 

“Oh,” Ruby sighed, rubbing her eyes, she pulled up her nose at the breakfast on the counter.  She let her gaze wander from the portrait over to the mural covering the wall across the room.  From where she stood there was no discernable single image that she could say, “Oh, that’s a this or this is a that.“   It was as if Betty had tossed every color imaginable from her artist’s palette onto the wall, converging them into an undistinguishable maelstrom of color. 

Yet there was something there. Like the other paintings there was more to it than just the dizzying swirls of color punctuated by dots of, what, light? She couldn’t tell.  Ruby shivered and scrunched her coat around her.

What she saw in the scene caused her to feel a coldness that penetrated to her core.  It was a feeling that drew her in even more, enticing her to explore more of the confusing conjunction of color that captured her eye.  It distracted her from her young memories of Grandma Start, the yucky breakfast and the old guy with the backwards hat. 

Ruby found herself so absorbed by the painting she forgot all about Arnie, Betty and Thomas.  All of its color and texture played in Ruby’s mind making her wonder.  Then, as if by magic, the hint of an image emerged from the abstractness on the wall.  People emerged.  It was as if they were walking out of the fog, and Ruby could dimly begin to see them. She found them with her fingers, then traced the streaks of shimmering light and the sparkles of what appeared to be a stable, animals and people sharing a cold, starry winter night. 

As she gazed it was as if she were being drawn into the painting even more. Some part of her was being nudged. She was coaxed into the story of the mural by an unknown storyteller. It crept into her mind. For a brief moment she grasped at it, but couldn’t yet gather it in that the story the mural told, in part, was her story. A story not easily discovered except by those meant to discover it.

Wanderers- 2

Note: This spring, 2020, during the Covid-19 outbreak and lockdown, I found myself with a lot of at-home time. During that time this story was completed. There are 12 sections to this story that will be posted starting December 26, ending on January 6, the day of Epiphany. “Wanderers” can also be found in my book “My Best Christmas and other stories of the season” at Amazon.com.


The continuing Saturday morning drizzle provided a dreary, wet greeting as Ruby and her grandfather Thomas welcomed a new day. The day’s sun, low in the sky, shyly hiding behind sheets of low, gray clouds, didn’t add much to the promise that awaited them. However, Thomas would have none of that. He added his own sunshine. “This is the day that the Lord has made.” Thomas croaked out a line from a song he’d learned in Sunday school long ago.

“Grampa?” said Ruby as she tried to focus through the sleepy haze still permeating her twelve year old brain that drippy morning. She resisted her grandpa’s bright outlook and embraced the gloom, milking it for all it was worth.  “Grampa?  Wha-a-a…?”

 “Good morning, Sunshine!!”  With a knock on her bedroom door and a song, Thomas Start, grandfather of Ruby Jensen, made a feeble attempt at morning irony as he greeted his I’d-rather-be-sleeping-in, granddaughter.

Ruby’s parents, Thomas’ daughter Meira and son-in-law Ben, were away for the weekend. Thomas offered to keep Ruby safe, warm, fed and occupied while they were gone.  To that end, that morning Thomas would be fitting Ruby into his early Saturday morning routine of breakfast at the diner. 

“Where are we going so early?  It’s Saturday!” she said.

With a perky grin, Thomas said, “The diner.”  Ruby tried rubbing the sleep from her eyes. “I know, I know… You’re not used to getting up before, what is it, noon on Saturday?” Thomas said.  “These are the best hours of the week. Besides, this is for breakfast, the most important meal of the day.” Thomas grinned at a sleepy Ruby, her red hair flattened by her nighttime battle with her pillow.

It wasn’t long and both of them were ready to face the day after some coaxing, prodding and putting in more effort than Thomas was used to expending.  Ruby grabbed her hat, an ancient Red Sox hat that Thomas had given her once when they were playing ball in the backyard.  Old and faded with a dime sized splotch of red paint on the bill, Ruby crammed her hat over her unruly red hair and Grampa crammed his Cubs hat over what was left of his barely there hair.  In the dark living room they slipped past the sparkling Christmas tree topped with a bright star that gave them all the light they needed to proceed.  

Thomas grabbed the keys to the old pickup from the hook by the back door.  They tossed on their jackets, walked out the door, waded through the puddles and piled into the pickup parked next to the house.  They poked along in the early morning gloom and headed to the diner that was Thomas’ Saturday morning spot for breakfast, coffee, conversation and companionship.

The windshield wipers kept pace with the morning drizzle. The beat of the country Christmas tunes blaring from the truck’s radio didn’t deter a groggy Ruby, face plastered against a steamy window, from trying to grab a few more minutes of sleep. Glancing at Ruby, Thomas’ smile expressed deep gratitude for her and how she came to be in his life. Buried beneath the smile was the knowledge that it wasn’t always that way. Things could have been a lot different. A lot different.

Wanderers – 1

Note: This spring, 2020, during the Covid-19 outbreak and lockdown, I found myself with a lot of at-home time. During that time this story was completed. There are 12 sections to this story that will be posted starting December 26, ending on January 6, the day of Epiphany. “Wanderers” can also be found in my book “My Best Christmas and other stories of the season” at Amazon.com.

* * * * * *

Let me make this abundantly clear.  Things don’t just happen.  Fate, chance, luck have no place in our world.  Coincidence? Things just happen?  Oh well, that’s life? Que sera? I don’t buy it.  There’s a reason and a purpose for the events that occur in our lives, no matter how unbelievably coincidental they may sometimes seem.  That’s why I need to tell this story.  

It’s a story about wanderers, Thomas Start, Betty Williston, Harry Spaulding and others.  They all started in different places, at different times and from different circumstances.  They were wanderers, each in their own way, yet somehow came together.  These wanderers, all strangers to each other, were brought together in the fullness of their time, to make a difference and shed light into the lives of each other.

It’s a story of Epiphany. It’s a story of God working behind the scenes as he does in all of our lives for a reason and a purpose that, in the end, reflects his grace.  Indeed, he is the author of our stories and the main character as well.


A cold shiver crawled through Ruby as she shed her rain-drenched jacket. The two of them just got back from school and their in-car, oneway discussion continued.  “I hate science!” Who cares about all that astronomy stuff anyway? Mr. King is soooo boring!” Ruby said, rolling her eyes. 

She carved a sour look on her face and with a low, growly voice did her best, worst imitation of her teacher.

 “And so, because, in the nighttime sky, these points of light appeared to move about among the fixed objects, stars e-t-c-e-t-e-r-a…” She drew out the word with her best British accent.  Ruby cleared the imaginary phlegm from her throat in dramatic teacher style.  “These, what we now call planets, were known to the ancients as wanderers.”

Ruby’s mother, Meira, fought the urge to chuckle and hung her coat in the closet. She said, “C’mon, Ruby it can’t be all that bad.”

“Besides, with 100 percent clouds all the time who can even see any of the stuff he talks about?” Ruby said. “And look at this!” Ruby dug through her school binder and extracted her science notes from her language arts folder. “Look at all these vocabulary words! We have to know them by Monday!”

Meira rescued the sheet from Ruby’s angry hands and said, “These don’t look too bad. I’m sure Grampa will love to help you review.” She skimmed the list; planets, supernova, conjunction and a dozen more.

“Why do I have to stay at Grampa’s?” she said. “Why can’t I just stay home while you and Dad are away? I’m old enough! It’s not fair!” Ruby’s foul mood was precipitated by a bad Friday at school, of which she had many, especially with Mr. King the science teacher. Today was no different.

“Ruby, we talked about this. Dad and I have a meeting to attend and we’ll be back sometime Saturday morning. And no, you can’t stay alone overnight.” Ruby rolled her eyes. She was twelve after all, a sixth grader, in middle school, no less. “Besides you like staying at Grampa’s.”

“Why don’t you get your stuff ready. We should be ready to go when your dad comes home. At this Ruby stomped to her room to pack her stuff. Her imagination worked overtime creating weekend scenarios that were not to her liking. Not at all! Little did she know what she imagined and what was true were to be very different.

Christmas Songs

Here are Christmas songs you were not likely to hear while Christmas shopping.

Mary’s Song – “My soul magnifies the Lord for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant.” Luke 1:48

Zechariah’s Song – “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has looked favorably on his people and redeemed them. He has raised up a mighty savior for us in the house of his servant David.” Luke 1:68-69

Simeon’s Song – “Master, now you are dismissing your servant in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.” Luke 2:29-32

Anna’s song (Her words are not given, but her response to meeting the Savior is.) – “She began to praise God and to speak about the child to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem.” Luke 2:38

The Angel’s Song – “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors!” Luke 2:14

Christmas songs… Today’s gift!

Merry Christmas!


Coming tomorrow and each day for the 12 days of Christmas, is Wanderers a story of Epiphany. It will come in 12 parts, ending on January 6, Epiphany. Wanderers can also be found in the collection of short stories My Best Christmas and other stories of the season, available at Amazon.com.

The Star of Bethlehem

Now I’m not going to get into a whole big astronomical ‘thing’ about the what, when, where and why of the star that led the magi to Jesus. I’ll leave that to others. Whether it was a one-time miraculous stellar event or the result of eons of God’s precise planning that brought planets and stars together, I’m not here to say.

I believe that the creator of all things, in his divine wisdom, wanted to get the attention of ancient scholars, sky gazers from the east.  He wanted to introduce them to the child King of Kings and Lord of Lords. So in the fullness of time this celestial event took place and motivated these magi to travel to find Jesus. And they did.  And they brought him gifts and they worshipped him.  

So why am I bringing this up so many days before Epiphany, January 6, when all of this is usually celebrated? You see, one of the ideas about the ‘star’ is that there was a conjunction of planets and/or a bright star. When they all came together the result was a remarkably bright object in the sky which caught the attention of these night sky observers. Again, why am I bringing this up?

It just so happens that in a few days, December 21, 2020, to be precise, there will be a conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter, just before sunset, in the southwest sky. The two bright planets, ‘wanderers’ as they were called back then, will come together and appear as one really bright object.  It should be quite a sight if you are favored with clear skies, an unobstructed view and catch it at the right time. 

Now I’m not suggesting that after seeing this conjunction that you hop on the nearest camel and head to Bethlehem and look for Jesus.  However, it just might be a good time to give some credit to God the creator for the gift of his remarkable world.

Oh, and as for looking for Jesus… he’s not that far away. He’s called Immanuel, God with us, after all. Today’s gift, to be sure!