I stood on the front doorstep in my dressing gown on Christmas Day. It was 6.50 am, dark and quiet – apart from the birds who’d been awake and singing since 4.30. No other human beings were in sight, curtains still tightly drawn across bedroom windows, cars on drives frozen in place. High above me stars polka-dotted the black sky. Christmas Day promised to dawn in a clear sky.

There was purpose in my solo sojourn to the front door. In the southwest, among the stars, appeared a brighter one than any other, at precisely 6.53 am. The star was on the move and made a swift passage across the sky towards the east. I watched it for four minutes before it disappeared into the lightening eastern sky. The ‘star’ was the International Space Station. For me it illustrated the Christmas story: ‘We saw his star…’ ‘Herod… found out from them the exact time the star appeared.’ ‘When they saw the star, how happy they were, what joy was theirs. It went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was.’ ‘O morning stars together, proclaim the royal birth…’

How special to see the ISS on Christmas morning, to think that up there in the silent sky, scientists were working, maybe having a spot of Christmas food while, down below, just a few folk were awake and alert to see this star – the ISS – coming.

Later I watched the sunrise – and sang, ‘Yet in thy dark streets shineth the everlasting Light; the hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.’

Did you miss the ISS? And the sunrise? Please don’t miss the Light of the world.


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