In the guest room last night I saw a star. 1 of those paper lanterns wrapped around a hanging bulb. I love those things.
When I left India in 1993 – 5 months pregnant – I bought a dozen paper stars. Stars with bright bold designs. Stars of shimmering silvery loveliness. I thought, “At Christmas in our new home in the States we’ll decorate with these stars and remember our beloved India.” But it wasn’t our home that benefited from their beauty. It was an office.
We moved to Madison 12 years ago – with a 3 year old – for my job. At Christmastime, our department decided to decorate. I brought my stars from India. Everyone loved them. We hung them neatly above each cubicle. Nothing inside them to shine. Just the prettiness of the paper and the symbolism of the Christmas star. I kept them in my desk drawer and pulled them out every December for my colleagues to enjoy.
Last summer I packed up all my personal stuff at the office and schlepped it all home as I began my sabbatical. My son – then 15 – saw me unpacking the stars. With excitement he ran to the box, pulling out each one, admiring them with wonder and awe. He looked at me and exclaimed, “Where’d you get these, Mom? I’ve never seen them before! I love them!”
What have I done? An irreversible error in judgment was suddenly visible. And I was broken hearted. How much of what I’ve loved and cherished has been shared with others, but not with my son? What gifts have others benefited from that my son’s never seen? How much energy, focus, intentionality and creativity have I shined on others “for the sake of ministry” while leaving my child in the dark?
We hung stars this past Christmas in our home. My son picked his favorites to hang in his room. They hung in his windows until I talked him into putting them away before Easter. He loves them.
We’ll definitely take those stars to our new home when we leave the U.S. They are a reminder to me now to give my best gifts to my family; to pass on all that I cherish to my son. I love him.
O my people, hear my teaching; listen to the words of my mouth.I will open my mouth in parables, I will utter hidden things, things from of old-what we have heard and known, what our fathers have told us.We will not hide them from their children; we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD,his power, and the wonders he has done. Psalm 78:1-4
What do you cherish?
Ask God to bring to mind recent conversations and circumstances that reveal your real priorities and loves.
Who are you sharing those cherished things with?
How are you sharing your “stars” with those closest to you? With the next generation?