A Great and Mighty Wonder!

It’s the twelfth day of Christmas! Join in celebrating with the Magi who rejoiced with great Joy when they saw the star! Twinkle the curious little star in my whimsical tale rejoiced too!

(Final two Chapters of the whimsical Advent tale -‘The Little Star that Wondered’)

The Ailment & the Promise

Wikipedia; public domain, from the 10th Century Byzantine Illuminated ‘Paris Psalter’–(David composes the Psalms)

The pleasure of God over the life of David was evident: from the zeal the young shepherd demonstrated in the slaying of wild beasts and the giant, Goliath, to the righteous integrity he walked in as Saul unjustly sought his life. His love and honor of God always drew him back to righteousness, praise and worship. Though he was a man who subsequently shed much blood in war and committed great personal sins, His repentance was always swift, earnest and thorough. He bore God’s righteous indignation well and with great humility.  The Psalms he wrote reflected that broken and sincere heart towards God, as well as his adoration of the Law of God and God’s great works of creation as seen in the oceans and the heavens. Both Twinkle and her mother, quoted the words of one of David’s Psalms as it unfurled across the satin intergalactic space like a scroll.

 “The heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament shows His handiwork; day unto day utters speech and night unto night shows knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Their line (message) has gone out over all the earth and their voice to the ends of the world.” *

So pleased was God by David’s heart that He renewed the Abrahamic covenant through him, promising that the Messiah of the whole world would come through the line of David, son of Jesse. Some of David’s psalms were even prophesies which spoke of the Messiah, though their meanings were veiled to the stars.

 A series of prophets and scribes followed as God continued the unveiling to Shining Star and Twinkle. It was evident that He was not interested in lingering over the generations of Israel’s rebellions, the idolatries which followed, nor the eventual split of Israel into two separate nations.  Like one shaking out a vast carpet, the Right Hand of God moved Earth’s and Israel’s history along, in a succession of warnings, prophecies and their fulfillment. Prophet-scribes– Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Amos, Hosea, Micah and others later classified as major and minor prophets — dramatized, lived out, and wrote God’s warnings of judgement. Their words were sure — the brutal Assyrians invaded, followed by the Babylonians who carried off the best of the peoples to slavery and exile in Babylon. But God’s gracious promise also held sure. His hand rested on a generation of the exiles and the smile of God shone forth again like the sun coming forth in its glory. He revealed to the stars a glimpse of four exiled Hebrew boys who refused to let the light of their faith in God and His promises go out, not even under dread threats and persecution in the painful land of their suffering. For their faithfulness they were raised up as influential leaders in their time.

Wikipedia, Public Domain, James Tissot-1896(‘The Flight of the Prisoners’-exile of Jews to Babylon),

One of the four whose life God showed in detail was Daniel. As one highly favored by God, he became a bold statesman and advisor to Babylon’s kings, but remained a servant of God to whom even the great warrior angel, Michael, was sent in answer to his prayers. The swiftly passing annals were unclear to the stars as they viewed Daniel’s story, but it seemed to them that this Daniel may have started a school of righteous wise men in Babylon, which later came to be known as the Eastern school of the Magi. At this, Twinkle recalled words of her Maester Star as he referenced the imperfect methods and tools by which some of Earth’s wise men had tried to study the heaven’s. Some went too far and tried to read the histories and futures of men and nations through the movements of the heavenly bodies. But God drew a clear line, maintaining a distinction between prophetic messages He set in the very poetry of the movement of the heavenly bodies and the efforts of mere men to predict human behavior and outcomes based on astrological patterns and prognostications. In fact, His commandments expressly forbade such activity. However, to Daniel and his progeny of magi, God revealed His timeless plans and as God, the Holy Spirit, delighted to open up Twinkle’s understanding, she realized that it was to these students of the heavens that her father, Bright Star, had been sent and was even then beginning to encounter!

NASA/ESA Hubble photo -(Magnetic Monster NGC 1275-); image of NGC 1275 was taken using the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope’s Advanced Camera for Surveys in July and August 2006. It provides amazing detail and resolution of the fragile filamentary structures, which show up as a reddish lacy structure surrounding the central bright galaxy NGC 1275. 

A hundred years after the Babylonian exile had ended, the survivors of Abraham’s descendants were now a scattered and despised people under Persian rule. Out of them, by God’s sovereign hand, a young orphaned Jewish girl was surprisingly raised to the position of queen of all Persia, and her name, Esther, meant ‘star’. As her story rose to their view, Shining and Twinkle saw that Esther’s Jewish name was Hadassah. She had been instructed by her adoptive relative, Mordecai, to hide her name and her Jewish heritage. This was the wisdom of God’s sovereign hand at work, for just a few years later an enemy of God’s chosen people was raised up. This evil Haman, for that was his name, had a dream and plan to annihilate the Jewish race altogether, and to snuff out the bearers of the seed of the Promise of humanity’s redemption to God.

Twinkle paid close attention, for she was beginning to grasp at last that Earth’s salvation was tightly bound to the survival of this troubled yet special people of God’s choosing. “If they are eliminated,” she wondered, “how would the Promise be fulfilled?” She could hardly believe that she would catch a glimpse of this miraculous work of the Eternal Holy God “…presenting Himself in earth’s time and space” like never before. She glowed up to a heightened level of alertness to the sharpest tips of her rays to see the part a young orphan-turned-queen would play.

Before long, a messenger had been sent to Esther from her relative, Mordecai, urging her to intervene by pleading with the King to save her peoples’ lives. “It was no doubt, for such a time as this that you have been raised to this position,” he stated.

“Esther— a star raised to shine for God’s purposes!” Twinkle shone with understanding.

Esther hesitated, knowing that to enter the King’s throne room, uninvited, was to invite immediate death. However, after praying and fasting, she bravely did, uttering the courageous words, “If I perish, I perish”. As if it were a trigger for God’s glory to break into history, Esther’s act pleased God and secured the right outcome. The King was pleased to see her and agreed to her request to host a feast in his honour, as God continued to work out the details in the background.

One restless night, the king asked for his journal to be read and he realized that he had not rewarded Mordecai for exposing an earlier plot to kill Him. Coincidentally, right as he sat up to address this oversight, in came the evil Haman to confirm plans to kill all the Jewish people of which both Mordecai and Esther were. From that point on it was sunset and darkness for Haman. Suffice to say, he was killed and the chosen people preserved to serve God’s eternal purpose.

Again, the Holy Spirit of God paused the screen in the firmament to answer the question that had formed in the mind of the curious little star, “What if Esther had said no to Mordecai?”

“Think about it, My young Twinkle. Did ever a creation of mine refuse my good and perfect will?” God asked.

“Oh yes!” she replied, recalling the fall of Lucifer which Maester Starr had recounted to them in class.

“And, did Lucifer’s rebellion stop or did it serve My purposes?” the Father questioned her.

“It became enfolded into Your Grand Plan!” she beamed, remembering her teacher’s wise explanation.

“It certainly was, and hear the words of Esther’s wise guardian, Mordecai, ‘If you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish.’ My plan is unstoppable, but the disobedient miss out on my blessing!”

“If only my people were always like the obedient Esthers and Daniels and Mordecais, for even after this great deliverance, my people continued in sin and rebellion. This period may have cured them of their idolatry, but their hearts never were wholly mine. They lionized the fathers but stoned the prophets who called them to repentance and obedience. So, I plunged them into centuries of a famine for My Word until the time was fulfilled for the cup of My great salvation to be revealed.

All photos in public domain, Wikipedia; Briton Riviére 1892 (Daniel’s answer to the King); A Megillah (Esther scroll); Toros Roslin, Mashtots, 1266 (Fiery Furnace, Hebrew boys in the Furnace); Jan Lievens 1625 (The Feast of Esther.)

“Well, did the chosen image bearers finally follow through in obedience, Heavenly Father?” Twinkle had to admit she was eager to get to the final scene that would answer her question — How would Holy God ‘enter human time and space’ to redeem all the trouble which disobedience and failure to trust His Holy heart had caused?

God smiled and glory shone around. “Indeed, there are many more stories between here and there, perhaps even more than a curious little star can bear to wait to hear.” He smiled. “So, let’s let you travel with one of the shining ones. Your Father Bright is still in process of getting the attention of the magi. But much is to happen before their arrival.”

“It is true,” spoke up the Second Person of the Godhead, quietly. “We may not always feel like or enjoy doing the will of the Father, Twinkle, but we can rest assured that the outcome will always be good, beautiful, and joyful– well worth any pain, discomfort or suffering– no matter how terrible.”

At that declaration, the heavenly space suddenly began to reverberate with an eternal, holy melody which took the stars by surprise, but which they could immediately tell was very significant.  The Holy Three-In-One broke into a unified rejoicing like the stars never knew possible! Suddenly, the two stars knew their time in the Throne Room was coming to a close. Mighty angels came and began to escort them back across the Shining Sea as the voice of God’s only begotten Son, the Second Person of the Godhead, was heard ringing through the Eternal space,

“Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired,

But a body You have prepared for Me.

In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin

You had no pleasure.

Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come—

In the volume of the Book, it is written of Me—

To do your will, O God.’” *

Brilliant, pure white light so filled the space that the two stars could see no more, but could hear the holy rejoicing ringing throughout the annals of the heavenlies, though they still did not grasp its meaning.

ESA/Hubble archives; (Hubble mosaic of the Majestic Sombrero Galaxy)

Incarnation: Light on the Full and Holy Cure

As they were ushered from the Divine Throne Room, the scenes now revealed to Twinkle and Shining showed Bright Star in various stages of accomplishing his mission. At one point, he was seen in triple retrograde motion, viewed from a vantage point on earth’s plane. Confusingly, it seemed to them that he circled back on his course, passing another lesser known heavenly body, the King star, Regulas, three times — in effect crowning it with three ellipses! Bright and Regulas together made such a bright light in the heavens, it seized the attention of all the Babylonian stargazers that year, like nothing else in the night skies, and kept them looking!

“I didn’t know Bright could do that!” gasped Shining, as she and Twinkle stared at the continually unfolding screen in star-like wonder.

NASA/ESA Hubble photo; (a pair of galaxies in a celestial dance of cat and mouse)https://esahubble.org/images/heic0206b/

Their assigned angel smiled as he led them further across the eternal space which God had opened up. “The view of the skies before you is from that of the land called Babylon, around the earth-era to be known as 3 BC. There is much more yet that you will be privileged to learn of how the Ancient of Days wields His Holy Arm to accomplish His good, pleasing and perfect will. Bright Star is carrying out the Father’s will to its smallest ‘jot and tittle’, even in the planned movements of the heavenly bodies from the foundations of the earth.”

Twinkle looked at her mother, “Jot and tittle?” She asked.

“That just means to the smallest dot or stroke of God’s written word,” Shining explained. Turning to the angel she queried, “What does it mean then that Bright is carrying out this action in the constellation of Leo?”

The messenger was eager to respond, “You might recall from Celestial Hall and earlier scenes which the Father unfolded for you, that of the twelve tribes of Israel, the one through which God chose to fulfill His Promise was David’s tribe— the tribe of…”

“Judah! “ exclaimed Twinkle.

The angel smiled and nodded.

Shining glowed with understanding herself, “Of course, the lion represents the tribe of Judah, the line of King David, of God’s chosen people.”

“Indeed,”, smiled the angel. “The King will arise; the Lion of the Tribe of Judah!”

“Well, where is Dad heading next?!” Twinkle asked excitedly, casting off restraint.

“Watch,” said the shining messenger, as they continued along the celestial path from the throne Room. “You will not want to miss this!”

The two stars watched as Bright Star, now clothed as the wandering star Jupiter, rose over the eastern sky that was visible to the early Babylonian stargazers. As he emerged over the horizon, the entire constellation called Virgo came up behind him; she seemed clothed in the sun, as it also arose, and had the early moon of the Jewish New Year at her feet. Both stars wondered at the significance they knew it had to bear, though they could not yet tell what, or how.

NASA/ESA Hubble photo; (bright blue newly formed stars that are blowing a cavity in the centre of a fascinating star-forming region known as N90.)https://esahubble.org/images/heic0702a/

In a dizzying switch, Twinkle and Shining next found themselves viewing a completely different scene. The glorious expanse of the Milky Way Galaxy, and beyond, gave way to a humble village, Nazareth, in Roman occupied Israel. Angels were on mission all over the area, appearing as bright lights on the historical landscape to the watching stars. Brightest of them all was the great messenger, Gabriel. He had already been busy in the area, ministering to the priest Zacharias, and his devout wife, Elizabeth. Both were past child-bearing years, yet God was promising them a child.

Twinkle recalled seeing Gabriel zipping away like lightning on one of the earliest missions as the first messengers were dispatched. “So that’s where he went.” She smiled. But something seemed wrong. Zacharias did not seem happy to see Gabriel, and Gabriel’s visage was as severe as Twinkle had ever seen the visage of a holy messenger.

Like a microphone dropped into the incense room of the temple where Gabriel was engaging Zacharias, the conversation rose clear to the stars, “I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God, and was sent to speak to you and bring you these glad tidings. But behold, you will be mute and not able to speak until the day these things take place, because you did not believe my words which will be fulfilled in their own time.”

Shining shook her head as she explained to Twinkle that Zacharias had doubted the word which God had sent by Gabriel —the glad news of a child to be born to the barren couple, as He had done for Abraham and Sarah and many others of his line. “How blind these image-bearers are,” she sighed. “This is truly a dark planet.”

“But not for much longer, favoured stars,” the angel excitedly added. “For this took place six months ago, according to the time written for the earth, and now Elizabeth is great with child! And Gabriel, in synchrony with the movement of God’s prophetic clock, written even in the stars, is again on the move!” He gestured with a flourish to the next scene which God had lined up for the stars.

Wikipedia Commons, Fra Angelico 1438-1450; (Gabriel appears to Mary)

In the scene a young maiden went humbly about her domestic duties in a small Galilean fishing village. She was oblivious as the mighty Gabriel approached her dwelling, careful to subdue his glorious appearance, “Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!”

Both Shining, and the angel guiding them, were surprised at what happened next, for Twinkle suddenly spoke up. “Excuse me, Mr. Angel but can we skip this part to where God makes His ‘entrance into human space and time’? We’ve already seen God tell ordinary people nice things. I just want to see what the conjunctions of the wandering stars, and the constellations all aligned, are going to do! Surely God going to Earth must mean there is going to be some kind of super nova event, or a galactic collision or Black Hole reversal or…or…something huge that will make the parting of the Red Sea look like Celestial Hall playground games!”

“In this you are greatly mistaken hasty one. Now watch and behold the wisdom of our God,” was the angel’s patient reply.

Gabriel spoke again to the maiden, Mary, for that was her name. “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son and shall call His name Jesus.”

“Mary was troubled but had a willing and obedient heart and only wished to know how God’s will would come about,” explained their guide.

“That’s what I want to know too,” interrupted Twinkle again. “And, I don’t understand why we’re talking about another baby when there is a planet to be saved from the enemy and from human rebellion against the Father!” She looked around at her mother who had suddenly frozen in her sparkling and hung motionless, as if stunned, when the scene with Mary and Gabriel unfolded.

“Twinkle, there is a time for everything under the firmament”, Shining said, staring transfixed, “and this is a time to stop speaking, stop questioning and look, listen and…be filled with wonder!”

Gabriel’s voice spoke on rapturously. “He will be great and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the Throne of His father, David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His Kingdom there will be no end.”

Then Mary said, “How can this be since I do not know a man?”

And the angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God.”

Then it was Twinkle’s turn to become transfixed, and Shining Star looked like she was about to faint dead away, “So that’s what the prophet Isaiah meant”, she finally whispered in awe, and began to rattle off another remembered passage. “Behold a virgin, shall bear a Son… Unto us a Child is born. Unto us a Son is given; and the government shall be upon His shoulder. And His Name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, the Mighty God, the everlasting Father and the Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His Government and peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David…to order it and to establish it with judgement and justice from that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this!”*

Turning and grasping Twinkle, she excitedly explained,” The Virgo constellation clothed in the sun spoke of the virgin bearing the Holy Seed… and your father Bright goes before her, marking the place in the East where the Holy Child is to be born!”

As the two tried to take in the wonder of it all, they realized the angel was escorting them all the way off the Shining Sea; and there, at the edge, stood Maester Star in his most regal glory.

“And here are my final two choristers to participate in this night of all nights for the blue planet! Your shining brilliance is needed! And, indeed, how full of light you both are!!”

Shining and Twinkle caught a glimpse of themselves reflected in the Shining Sea right as they glided away from its bounds! The Light of God emanated from them in full radiance!

NASA/ESA Hubble photo, (Extreme star cluster bursts into life…) https://esahubble.org/images/heic0715a/

“The Father’s timing is perfect,” rang the voice of the Master star, as he addressed Shining Star. “For they will need your light for this nine-month journey on earth. We have orders for you to break away from your usual plane of orbit and launch on a trajectory that will bring you into conjunction with your partner, Bright Star, as the wandering star Venus!” 

“Twinkle,” he continued, “by your bright light, you will lead your brother Sparkle and your Celestial Hall classmates, as heaven and angels sing on this night of all nights!”

Shining soon slipped past the heavenly portal, supernaturally sped in immediate obedience. Twinkle and her team all beamed brightly as they joined the heavenly hosts gathered in the eternal Celestial Assembly Hall. Their arrival incited the flow of the ranks of the heavenly armies out through the heavenly portals and across space and time. Some reported seeing a few scraggly bands of fallen ones scurrying out of the way of the shining throng, like rats hungry for cover of darkness. Meanwhile Heaven’s armies advanced on this priority mission of the Father’s.

NASA/ESA photo, (bright blue newly formed stars that are blowing a cavity in the centre of a fascinating star-forming region known as N90.)https://esahubble.org/images/heic0702a/

Michael, Maester Starr and the other angel generals at the head, halted briefly, having traversed nine months in mere moments of eternity; it was now 2 BC in earth terms of time. An angel scout had questioned the coordinates they travelled and sent back for confirmation. He reported urgently, “Behold, Jupiter and Venus are now in conjunction— the biggest planet and the brightest planet– forming the brightest star ever seen on earth in the Eastern night sky. But lo, our trajectory takes us to a field; not to the very birthing place of the Holy Child, where the Creator God is even now entering human time and space!”

“It is well,” assured the great messenger angel. “It is exactly as the Father would have it! The message goes first to shepherds— living out in their fields, just as the beloved Shepherd-King, David, used to do — keeping watch over their flocks by day and night!”

“The poetry of the great Godhead is marvelous to behold”, Maester Starr hummed in agreement. “For is it not the Great Shepherd Himself who comes this night, entering Earth’s dark plane, to guide His people, the sheep of His pasture, out of the shadows of sin and rebellion into the light and life of His glorious Gospel and Salvation?”

“Yes!” heralded the archangel as he surged to the front of the heavenly hosts. “It is perfect as He is perfect, and as He has written from of old! Let the multitude of Heaven’s armies proceed to the shepherds in the field. They shall be the first hearers and bearers of the glad tidings of great joy that we bring!”

Twinkle held her breath as the messenger parted the satin-black night sky and, by himself, mercifully prepared the shepherds for the sight that was about to break out before them— a sight they would never forget!

She and Sparkle hugged as they watched their parents in conjunction, shining down in holy brilliance on Bethlehem where the Christ Child was being birthed—God of all creation, poured into the tiny body of His own creature, His image-bearer, a human child. “This,” she said to her little brother, “is mystery…I’ll tell you all about it.”

NASA/ESA Hubble Photo, (Tapestry of Blazing Starbirth);https://esahubble.org/images/heic2007a/

As the incarnation was completed the angels re-entered their eternal space and the stars returned to the planes of their fixed orbits. But for another year or so, Bright Star, or Jupiter as he continued to be known, guided the Magi all the way from Babylon. They lost sight of him as they approached Jerusalem and assumed the royal child was located in the palace of Rome’s puppet king, Herod.

Incensed to learn that there was someone other than himself being attributed a regal title, coinciding with the appearance of an unusual star, Herod summoned all who knew of such things. This included the religious leaders from the Jewish Temple. They were able to accurately quote from the prophetic writings of the time of the promised arrival of the Messiah—the deliverer from God whom they believed would save them from their oppressors. Little did they grasp that in the small town, Bethlehem, just five miles outside of Jerusalem, God had not just sent a military deliverer, but had Himself entered human time and space, The Holy God Incarnated. No wonder Heaven and angels sang.

Meanwhile the Magi’s calculations helped them to locate Bright Star again, where God had him appear, from earth’s vantage point, to stop moving, being in retrograde motion directly over the home where the young child, now a toddler, lived with His earthly parents, Mary and Joseph. The wise stargazers’ joy knew no bounds as they worshipped the Child and presented Him gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.

Wikipedia Public Domain; National Gallery London, Gerard David, circa 1515 (Adoration of the kings)

The arrival of the Magi from the East brought out the worst in the evil King Herod. He lied to them, urging them to inform him when they found the child that he too might come and worship Him, when his full intention was to kill the child. In a dream, the Magi were guided by God to ignore the King’s word and return another way after their mission was accomplished. His wickedness played out for the worst for every boy child under two years of age in the environs of Bethlehem that evil tide, for Herod had them all brutally killed. No doubt, these innocent souls were escorted by their angels to the very bosom of the Father.

All, that is, but the One truly Innocent, Holy Child, whose subsequent life, death and glorious resurrection would lead to the salvation of all Mankind—the fulfillment of the Promise to Abraham and of the Father’s great reconciliation plan. For that dread night, along with Jupiter, the stars of the heavens and angels on mission, all kept right on working the Father’s plan foretold by the prophets. Dreams were visited and the holy family was guided away to safety in the dead of night. People gazing into the Milky Way Galaxy then might have seen a group of young stars in training– lighting the way, on the dark road to Egypt, for Mary, Joseph and the Young Child. They may have even been headed up by one with an especially bright Twinkle and a wondering glint in her shine. 

NASA/ESA Hubble photo, The Hubble Space Telescope’s latest image of the star V838 Monocerotis (V838 Mon) reveals dramatic changes in the illumination of surrounding dusty cloud structures. The effect, called a light echo, has been unveiling never-before-seen dust patterns ever since the star suddenly brightened for several weeks in early 2002. https://esahubble.org/images/heic0503a/

The End

Denise S. Armstrong – 11/30/2022 — 1/5/2023

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