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Of all the stories of Jesus, most well known is His nativity. A lesser known part is the sign given of His birth to the other side of the world. 'And behold, this will I give unto you for a sign at the time of his coming; for behold, there shall be great lights in heaven, insomuch that in the night before he cometh there shall be no darkness, insomuch that it shall appear unto man as if it was day. Therefore, there shall be one day and a night and a day, as if it were one day and there were no night; and this shall be unto you for a sign; for ye shall know of the rising of the sun and also of its setting; therefore they shall know of a surety that there shall be two days and a night; nevertheless the night shall not be darkened; and it shall be the night before he is born. And behold, there shall a new star arise, such an one as ye never have beheld; and this also shall be a sign unto you. And behold this is not all, there shall be many signs and wonders in heaven. And it shall come to pass that ye shall all be amazed, and wonder, insomuch that ye shall fall to the earth. And it shall come to pass that whosoever shall believe on the Son of God, the same shall have everlasting life.' Helaman 14:3-8 In the hours before Christ was born, the earth was bathed in light. What was the source of this light with the sun set?

When Vicky was expecting our third child and first son, I was in British army training. It was a rewarding yet gruelling fourteen weeks of inspection, combat, fitness, marching, ironing and fatigue. My son's due date was the week after I was to complete my training. My family lived 230 miles from my Army training regiment and I could not see them whilst in training. If I got injured or fell below expectations my training would be prolonged, known as 'back-squading'. I would miss being with Vicky at his birth.

I cannot describe how much I wanted to be there, amplified by the prospect of not. Both previous pregnancies had complications of premature delivery to heighten my worry. I prayed and worked my army socks thin. Miraculously to me, Adam was born two weeks late and I was there. Days before his birth Vicky and the cutest daughters God ever created met me at the station, a qualified British soldier, and we were reunited. A passing passenger commented it was the most moving thing she had seen.

Similarly I imagine Father in heaven could not bear to be apart when His only begotten Son was born. I imagine the light of the star was His light. Heaven empty. Its radiant inhabitants accompanying Jehovah's journey to life in the flesh. I imagine the grateful, encouraging embrace I hope I gave Him before He became a new born child. Perhaps the joy of Christmas singing touches upon these eternal memories. 'And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.' Luke 2:13-14

New star

Light of the Father

Drawn to be close

Not to be too far

Reaching within

Guiding wise men to seek Him

And children to see

Love has come down here

Wonder, confusion, dismay

What sign does all this convey?

Night as midday

All nature in disarray

Heaven's not home

When its king humbly leaves His throne

Night of light

Heaven in sight

Lift up, be of good cheer

Salvation's here

There's no need to fear

Free from the dark

Shadows flee with our greeting

Oh Saviour divine

May our light so shine!

Be near, Father of love

Look from Thy star above

Tenderly leading

Thy children home above

Heaven's not home

Till we gather before His throne

Night of light

Heaven in sight

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