“And high above a single star set in the highest heavens shone out brighter than all the others and poured down silver onto the little shed… ‘A Light to light up the whole world.'” Song of the Stars
When Zondervan asked me to write a Christmas picture book, my first thought was (I’ll be honest) HELP. OH NO! There are already so many out there, how do you make one that’s different? How do you catch the reader by surprise with this magnificent, familiar story?
And suddenly I was a child again in Africa full of excitement and longing and wonder.
Christmas was coming. There was no snow on the rooftops. The evenings weren’t closing in. But Christmas was coming.
We were little pale blond English girls in darkest Africa and from the beginnings of our lives our childhood was a safari. We were living in a national geographic world of upcountry jungles and savannah’s and wild animals. And our childhood was a paradise.
I was a little pale blond English girl living in a world surrounded by nature and by animals who had no argument with their maker.
Romans 8:19 speaks of “all of Creation longing.” The Psalms tells us that the created order now declares the glory of God (Psalm 19 & 65).
And I began to wonder: when Jesus came, did Creation sense it? It would not be surprising if they did—since they now declare the glory of God, since they long for him. I started imagining the animals and the stars sensing and rejoicing in the coming of Jesus.
When the one who made them came to earth, maybe they knew – though we didn’t.
When the promised gift, the long-awaited one – at last breaks into history – when he at last comes down into his world it is as a glorious surprise.
When Heaven kisses earth. When God becomes man.
Because every Christmas story comes as a gift – and a surprise after longing.
Different that we expected. More than we hoped. Just what we need.
And full of wonder.
“Song of the Stars” is mine.
My hope is that it will perhaps capture something of that wonder. That we would long for him, the way Creation longs for him. And most of all, that he would find room in our hearts – that he would be born again in our hearts this Christmas.