Look Up and Be Surprised

Sometimes I think my husband, Burl, appreciates God’s creation more than I do.

Burl and I, ready to enjoy the wonders of a night sky.

Oftentimes he’ll say, “Look there’s Venus” and many times as we drive in our driveway, sometimes on very cold evenings, he’ll want me to scan the sky for the “Big Dipper.” He’ll point out the “North Star” and the constellation, “Orion,” with his sword, and I’m mostly thinking, “Oh, yea, but let’s get inside where it’s warm.”

The middle of December brought us a beautiful full moon. I hope you saw it. I did because, Burl, kept saying, “The moon will be full in a few days, we don’t want to miss it.” And we didn’t! I thought it was full for several days, but technically the moon is only full for a fraction of a second, however, to the naked eye the moon appears to be full for thirty-six hours. I’m sure God planned it this way for our enjoyment.

For a closer look we sometimes bring out the telescope, but even a set of binoculars does a good job of bringing objects in the sky much closer. Venus is always easy to spot. It is ten times brighter than other planets. It isn’t stationary, and though it is seen in the southwest, it can be found in the eastern morning sky for an hour or so before the sun rises and in January, it will climb even higher than it appears now.

As I looked up into the December skies, I wondered if Venus could have been the “Star of Bethlehem,” the one that marked Christ’s birth? However, this star moved before the wise men, directing their way to the place where Jesus was and Venus doesn’t move like that. The wise men were astronomers and in Greek and Roman times unusual  events were associated with the birth of an important person. For instance, the people thought it quite common for a new star to appear when royalty was born. The wise men believed they were seeking God’s son, so the astronomical event they were a part of, may have seemed quite normal. Most Christians believe the Bethlehem Star’s appearance was a supernatural occurrence. Some picture the star as being held by an angel. Certainly the Master of the Universe could have created yet another star that moved in the direction to be followed and then stood stationary over the place where Christ was.

Writing this post, I wonder how I could be so nonchalant about the heavens above. How fortunate I am that I have a husband who isn’t and who loves and appreciates, not only God’s creation, but God Himself.

15 thoughts on “Look Up and Be Surprised

  1. As usual, wonderful post Shirley. Devon and I both saw that beautiful full moon and commented on how bright it was. Never thought about Venus and the Bethlehem Star. Thanks again for sharing your thoughts. You and Burl have a blessed Christmas Season!.
    God Bless, Cheryl and Devon

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  2. I LIKE YOUR HUSBAND AM THE ONE WHO TENDS TO LOOK UP AT THE SKY & JUST LOOK AT THE AWESOMENESS OF THE EXPANSE. I WONDER HOW FAR AWAY EVERYTHING IS. HOW FAR AWAY IS HEAVEN? TO THINK THE STARS WERE SET IN PLACE ONE BY ONE. SO MANY OF THEM. AND THAT GOD TOLD ABRHAM HIS DECSENDANTS WOULD BE AS THE STARS IN THE SKY & THE SAND ON THE SEASHORE. I CAN’T BEGIN TO FATHEM IT. SO MANY. GOD GAVE THE SUN TO LIGHT OUR WAY BE DAY & THE MOON TO LIGHT OUR WAY BY NIGHT!!! HE CERTAINLY HAS THOUGHT OF TAKING CARE OF OUR EVERY SINGLE NEED. SHIRL, THANK YOU FOR REMINDING ME OF OUR GOD’S GREATNESS. EXCELLENT ARTICLE!!! GOD BLESS YOU & BURL BOTH!!!!

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  3. Tonight, on our way home, we noticed how intriguing the sky looked. It was a deep midnight blue and we were able to see a full moon, but only a crescent of it was brightly lit. To the left of the moon was a bright light; and Dom and I discussed whether or not we thought it was a star or a planet. Dom thought that it was a planet and I decided that it was s star. It shone bright, and I imagine that this is how the star of Bethlehem would have looked. This is such a fun picture of you and Burl. Enjoying the simple and natural things in life is so fulfilling, just like God’s love for us.

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  4. I love looking at the night time sky…knowing it is ever changing…yet continues to look the same. The only time I felt lonely during at trip to Hawaii was when I looked up at the unfamiliar night sky. I believe that the Star of Bethlehem was placed in the sky at the perfect moment to guide the Wise Men. Man is always trying to prove or disprove things before they can believe…I’m glad they keep trying…it brings us closer to the truth with each new find…!!

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  5. All of us who have been blessed to know and work with Burl know what a great christian and man he is. He always had the comforting things to say, even when we were at our lowest points. You are truly blessed to have him as your husband Shirl, as he is equally blessed to have you. I thank God for both of you being a big part of my life.

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    • Dear Jean: We truly appreciate your kindness to us. You make us sound so special, but we think you are the special one, always looking for the good in others. You hold a special place in our hearts.

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  6. Love that picture of you, two. You have me wondering about something though. You said Burl pointed out the stars and planets with his sword. Are you talking about a sword as in a weapon, or his Bible. In either case what a man!

    Another reason to keep looking up . . . Christ is coming soon! With all that is taking place in the world today and especially the Middle East, I believe it may be very soon.

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  7. hi shirley..really enjoyed this one..you and burl are so lucky to be able to see the sky at night so clear..living in the city makes it so hard to enjoy the sky that god has created..i think i will invest in a telescope and try to find all of god creations in the sky..now it makes me miss the country..god bless you and burl..love ada mae

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    • You are the second person who talked about the skies not being as clear in the city. You would really love getting a telescope and studying the skies even if you have to come here to do it. Thanks for your comments, God bless you and Happy New Year..

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    • Emerson:Thanks for your wonderful reminder that we should be scanning the skies for Christ’s return. I, too, believe it will be soon. I appreciate your comments on my blog, keep enjoying the journey.

      On Thu, Dec 29, 2011 at 6:46 PM, Shirley Updyke wrote:

      > You are the second person who talked about the skies not being as clear in > the city. You would really love getting a telescope and studying the skies > even if you have to come here to do it. Thanks for your comments, God bless > you and Happy New Year.. >

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  8. Hi Shirl, I loved reading all these comments. I too, love looking at the stars, moon, and sky. What an AWESOME GOD we have !!! It is so peaceful and silent. Thanks again for your interesting blog which informs, entertains, and encourages interaction among people who may not have any other means of talking with others. God Bless you and Burl for all that you have done and continue to do.

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