“The spectacular structure of Planetary nebula NGC 2818 contains the outer layers of a star that were expelled into interstellar space. The glowing gaseous shrouds in the nebula were shed by the central star after it ran out of fuel to sustain the nuclear reactions in its core. This Hubble image was taken in November 2008 with the Wide Field Planetary Camera 2. The colors in the image represent a range of emissions coming from the clouds of the nebula: red represents nitrogen, green represents hydrogen, and blue represents oxygen.” (NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team, STScI/AURA)

I just spent a few minutes looking through these amazing images from NASA’s Hubble Telescope.  And while I am as guilty as the next person of overusing the word “awesome”, these images of our universe and the beauty and wildness that fill it truly are awe inspiring.

Take a minute to go and look at them.  They’re worth it.  I’ll wait.
Lift your eyes and look to the heavens:
Who created all these?
He who brings out the starry host one by one,
and calls them each by name.
Isaiah 40:26a

O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!
You have set your glory above the heavens.
From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise
because of your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger.
When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,
what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?

Psalm 8:1-4


In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
He was with God in the beginning.
Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.
In him was life, and that life was the light of men.
The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it…
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.
We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

John 1:1-5, 14


The almighty God, creator of heaven and earth – he who formed galaxies, crafted the nebulae, and awoke the morning stars as they shouted and sang for joy – this God is the one who came to earth as Emmanuel – God with us.  The creator of the supernovae became a baby, was born to a girl on a tiny corner of this sphere hurtling through space, for love of his creation: for you and for me, for the poor and the forgotten, for the rich and the isolated, for the one and all.

This is the miracle of Christmas.  And in the midst of the hustle and bustle, the programs and ministry obligations, the family and friends, the things to buy and things to decorate and things to do, I hope and pray that we take the time to remember: to be still and silent, and prepare our hearts to welcome again the birth of the one who made all things and holds all creation together, and who continues to come before us in disguise, through the poor, the hungry, the lonely, the rejected.  “Let every heart, prepare him room, and let heaven and nature sing with joy as we welcome the King into our hearts, our homes, and our lives.”


*  All of the Hubble pictures are from the Hubble site gallery.

** For Advent resources, check out Dave Bayne, Christine Sine, JR Briggs, or Advent Conspiracy.

*** For those of you who read Spanish, check this out.



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2 responses to “Stars

  1. hey ben,
    can we have permission to quote from this entry in our paper newsletter this month?? love what you wrote! we will give you credit, of course. 🙂

  2. Ben

    sarah – for sure. i’m emailing you and kirk now. but glad to share it. =)

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