The Morning Star
“I am the root and offspring of David, the bright morning star.”
I’m an early riser, and in late fall that means I’m up just before the sun. Near September’s end I began to notice a star low on the eastern horizon. Or was it a star? Its light was lambent and clear, without twinkling. A quick search gave me my answer. I was seeing the “Morning Star,” which is what we call the plant Venus when it appears in the east before sunrise. How did I not know that?
Staring out at that radiant pearl beaming above the half-lit horizon, I thought of Jesus’ words in the last chapter of the Bible. “I am the bright morning star.” In the Bible’s final lines, Christ is seen as bookending history–and all reality. He is, paradoxically, both root and offspring, the alpha and the omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end. And since the Morning Star and the Evening Star are one and the same, his star-ness is also eternal.
We all need a star like that, some vision to draw our eyes to the horizon and beyond. In all our confusion and struggle, we need some image of constant light, the promise of One who knows both the beginning and the end—in the Big Story of all creation, and in the little story of our tiny, fragile life.
Advent exercise: Tomorrow morning, early, just before sunrise, look east until you find the Morning Star. Gaze long enough, in trust, and it may begin to feel as if the Christ is gazing at you.
Prayer: Bright Morning Star, arise in my heart. Amen.