WHAT IF by Llewellyn McKernan

The Great Star, mesmerized by the dark, grows brighter and brighter, its breath reaching

from the edge of the universe to the nearest empty heart, so that along the way

constellations (including the great dog, the flying horse, the scorpion and the swan)

bow and bend before they return to their usual stance in the sky. Even all the other

stars take on an extra glow, searching out what has been planned since man first walked

away from the Maker of Stars.

What if other things are revealed when this silent epiphany is turning into the cry

of a baby?

Say, the voices of those angels singing about peace on earth, good will to men, get

more powerful with every line, and those shepherds — perhaps their sheep so weak

their masters knew only a miracle would save them, and when their flock heard those

spellbinding voices, they lifted their heads and stumbled to their feet, listening to the song

as if their lives depended on it (and it did) for they grew strong again, and their masters knew

their prayers had been answered. (No wonder they set out at once to find the Savior of the world. They’d seen him in action.)

What if the straw turns toasty warm when the babe is laid in the manger? And the swaddling clothes snow-white? And those magi— traveling over rivers and deserts, mountains and valleys, perhaps their heavy cloaks are down to dusty tatters and their sandals have been reduced to frayed straps and bare soles, the last bit of bread and drink of water gone, and they are bone-weary, starving, exhausted — their poor souls drained to the dregs from this never-ending search for the Prince of Heaven (that only a star in the dark can recognize) —— and then suddenly there at last! Everything of theirs gone but the gifts of myrrh, frankincense, and gold they had held onto as if it were the soul of their soul that has kept them going. Yet the long journey has only made their gifts more abundant for each of them now overflows with a spiritual bounty as real as the myrrh’s rich green shade, the gold’s pure glow, the frankincense’s swooning sweet perfume. When they kneel and bow and worship Jesus, their faces fill with the glory of God who, having sent them on their search, has kept faith, hope and love ready to burn in their hearts when they at last reach their goal.

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