December Moon, Through Winter Trees
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth...God made two great lights - the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He made the stars also.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God...all things were made through Him and without Him was not anything made that was made...The Light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.
The Word became flesh and dwelt amongst us, and we beheld His glory, full of grace and truth.
I call it the ultimate parenthesis. "He made the stars also." The best theological put down in the Bible. Stuck in Babylon, with the gods of the Empire in your face, stamped on your money, sold in the markets, and made permanent in the power-speaking architecture of Temple and State, you'd think the Exiles would get the message: our Gods are bigger than your god. But no. Some clever Jewish priest writes and tells the story of creation, and describes the architecture of the heavens. The stars are not gods, they are the handiwork of the God of Israel. Babylon is a mere empire, but God is the maker and breaker of the nations. So, these stars that the Babylonians worship and fear; those zodiac signs that an entire civil service studies in order to predict events and control the future. They're no big deal. They are a side show, albeit the greatest side-show in the universe. "He made the stars also". It's that devastating diminutive, "also". The whole infrastructure of Babylonian religion collapses under the weight of that parenthesis.
Advent is a time to look at the night sky, preferably just after reading Genesis 1 and John 1. And remembering that we live in our own Babylon of consumer capitalism, technological addiction, globalised trade, ecological vandalism, oppressive imagery, militarist problem-solving, and selling out to all the other gods of our own making. We may behave as if we are masters of the universe. But the masterpiece we are busy dismantling, defacing, despoiling and 'owning', belongs to the Creator God, who, by the way, "made the stars also". The light shineth in the darkness and the darkness comprehendeth it not - neither understands, nor defeats, the light of God. "He made the stars also". That is Advent in five words.