When I see your heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon and stars that you set in place
What are humans that you are mindful of them,
Mere mortals, that you care for them?
The winter skies are the best for
stargazing. Be sure to glance up
as you go to Midnight Mass on
Christmas Eveor on any clear night at
this time of the year. The cold, crisp air
makes the stars glitter more than usual.
Some of the best-known constellations
and stars can be seen now. Orion
the Hunter strides the sky. His shoulder
stars are Betelgeuse (Beetlejuice) and
Bellatrix. The southernmost of the
three stars in his belt is the double star
Alnitak. The blue-white star Rigel, believed
to be 800 light-years from Earth,
marks Orions left foot.
Orions sword contains several multiple
stars, and the gorgeous Orion Nebula
lies around the swords middle star.
Other Visible Stars
If you mentally draw a line through
the stars of Orions belt, you will come
to the brilliant star Sirius, the eye of one
of Orions hunting dogs, Canis Major.
If you take Orions belt line upwards,
you come to the red star Aldebaran,
the fiery eye of Taurus the Bull. The
Pleiades (the Seven Sisters) are the misty
group of stars in the bulls neck, and the
Hyades form the V of the bulls face.
In winter, the Milky Way, our home
galaxy, gleams as a silvery slash in the
sky directly overhead. And still visible
early in the evening is the Galaxy
Andromeda, 2.4 million light-years
away from Earth. Andromeda hints at
the thousands of suns and moons we
cannot see but are fairly sure exist.
Hubble telescopes, Doppler radars, space
probes and other scientific advances
have given us more knowledge of the
stars than ancient people had, but probably
less appreciation of them. Knowing
about double stars and light-years does
not automatically make astronomers
believers in the Drummer of the Big
Bang, but for those at all attuned to
faith, its added proof.
The stars make believers keenly aware
of our place in Gods universe and plan.
Davids insight is into the contrast between
the God of the heavens and himself,
a fragile and mortal being. Yet this
awesome God was with him in his
battles building up the Kingdom of Israel
and with him as a son and husband and
father, in his ordinary life. The same
God who put these glittering orbs into
the heavens and keeps them spinning
according to his plan is mindful of
David and cares for himand about
us. Unbelievable but true!
The contrast between galaxies and little ole me could not be greater. But
faith tells us that Gods care is the same.
God loves and cares deeply for me and
my family, and wants only the best for
usdespite the suffering, pain and
death that are our fate. In the end, God
wants us with him for eternity, thus
making us mortals immortal.
God chose to bridge the vast gulf between
himself and us by sending us his
only-begotten Son. And since Jesus
birth, nothing has been the same. God
is truly one of us. The Divine Majesty
has given humans new dignity and
Christmas makes us all star stuff in
a new and glorious way. Kids nowadays
say awesome so often it risks making the
word meaningless. But if we occasionally
look up and remember the Maker of
everything, we must give thanks for our
truly awesome God.
This concludes our column on psalms.