The first Christmas that we were married, my husband and I bought a star tree topper at a drugstore.
That was over thirty years ago.
The star was silver then.
Eventually I sprayed it gold so it would better match ornaments on the tree.
Every year I have to reinforce it with hot glue and duct tape. And every year I say it’s time for this old star to go.
But it still shines.
And I can’t find another tree topper I like better.
It’s older than our children. It’s presided over Christmas for their entire lives.
It’s outlasted the gingerbread ornament that my youngest made in preschool. The sweet ornament crumbled after a decade or so—ashes to ashes, dust to dust, gingerbread to cinnamon and cloves. Spice of life, formless and void, fragrant fragments in my hand when just the Christmas before, it was whole.
The star shone on when other lights went out, one by one. Lights in my life, not those of man-made strings on the tree. This star glowed above me as I decorated, year after passing year, listening to a particularly poignant version of Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring that pierced my soul. The haunting chords stirred an almost unbearable sense of loss. Of time, of people, of the inevitability of it all. For a moment, though, under that star, somewhere in the music, in the light, in the season, those who loved me were near again. Not visible, not tangible, yet present, perceptible. Very near.
It stands within its own circle, this star. I think of all that might symbolize. The circle of life. May the circle be unbroken. A wedding band, a halo, a covenant. Wholeness, holiness.
It is fragile.
It is old.
But the star hangs on. It still shines.
With Christmas grace.