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twinkle starOne of the amazing things about vacationing on an island is that your view of the stars at night is pretty incredible. I would end each day, on the little porch at the top of the beach, ocean in front of me and stars above, just being amazed by the night sky. And, as sometimes happens, I got a snippet of a lullaby stuck in my head. Join me if you would like:
Twinkle, twinkle, little star, How I wonder what you are!
Up above the world so high, Like a diamond in the sky.
Twinkle, twinkle, little star, How I wonder what you are!

If you are a mom or dad, a grandparent, an aunt or uncle or anyone who loves a child, odds were good that you sang those words to someone. “How I wonder what you are”. You looked at them, tucked in bed, so trusting and loveable and wondered who they would be, what their life would be like, how that little light would shine.

Whether you named it as such or not, the light that you saw twinkling in the eyes of that child, was the most amazing light of all. Today’s 1st reading and Gospel both proclaim these words:
The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; upon those who dwelt in the land of gloom a light has shone.
That is the light you saw twinkle in the eyes of your child. The light you sensed in them was no less than THAT light; no less than the light of God who made a home in that child for this world.

Someone saw that light in your eyes as well. Maybe when you were an infant, someone sang “Twinkle, Twinkle” to you. But whether or not they sang the song, I am sure someone saw that twinkle in your eyes and wondered who you would be, what your life would be like, how your light would shine. For that very light burns in you and in me for this world as well.

We celebrate the light that was given us at Baptism. A candle is lit << light candle >> from the Easter candle and given to Mom or Dad, or if we are old enough, the words come directly to us: “You have been enlightened by Christ. You are to walk always as a child of the light. May you keep the flame of faith burning brightly in your hearts forever.” We each are to be light-bearers for this world. We each carry some of the light that this world so desperately needs.

And yet, it sometimes does not feel like much, this candle, this twinkle, this little light that has been placed so deep within us. It is those times, when the truth spoken in lullabies can help us. You might not know this, but there are more verses to “Twinkle, Twinkle.” Those mostly unknown verses speak about the purpose of that twinkling light: (I’ll spare you the singing)

When the blazing sun is gone, When he nothing shines upon,
Then you show your little light, Twinkle, twinkle, all the night.

Then the trav’ler in the dark, Thanks you for your tiny spark;
How could he see where to go, If you did not twinkle so?

As your bright and tiny spark, Lights the trav’ler in the dark,
Though I know not what you are, Twinkle on, please, little star.

Twinkle on, please, little star! What matters is that you shine on for others. What matters is not the brightness of the star, but that it is constant. When I have seen the light of God, it has never been for me the sun changing colors in the sky or the dramatic light that flashed around a St. Paul on the road to Damascus. Rather, it has always been experienced in the quiet flame of love. It’s forgiving; it’s caring for others; feeding the hungry; being faithful. It is all those things you were committed to at Baptism, (and for our confirmandi, that you are journeying to deepen in confirmation) all those things we try to encourage in all we do here.

And it is our call: that people can see in our eyes … that people can see in our lives … the very light that our scriptures proclaim today: The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; upon those who dwelt in the land of gloom a light has shone.
Maybe someday you will sing “Twinkle, twinkle little star” again – or for the first time – to a little one. If you do, I hope you remember that there are other verses. And though you may not remember the words – hopefully, you’ll remember their invitation to be that light for all the travelers in the dark.

As your bright and tiny spark, Lights the trav’ler in the dark,
Though I know not what you are, Twinkle on, please, little star.

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