Singing Stars

Today’s blog is the last until next year. It’s a favorite story from my seminary days. I hope it encourages you to look at the night sky on Christmas Eve with wonder, as I will.

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Seminary was humbling. I studied under brilliant professors. One in particular, who is now president of another seminary, was pure genius. He had been the youngest district attorney in his home state history before “heading into holiness.” He was tall and gangly, with an infectious grin. And he was irrepressible. He shared this story right before Christmas.

He was driving across his state one winter night—totally lost. He saw lights in the distance. He drove toward them, to an observatory, intending to ask for directions. The person who answered the door assumed he was someone else. “Come in! You’re late! We’ve been waiting.”

Goofy guy that he was, my professor was soon up in the dome. Gesturing at the massive telescope, the man said, “Look there. Listen.” He did as he was told, and found himself staring at a star. Then he heard a pleasant noise, so asked about it. Before answering, the scientist adjusted the telescope so that another star was in focus—accompanied by another sound.

The scientist said that all stars emit sound. My professor was startled. He thought of Luke’s verses about the Heavenly Host singing to announce the birth of the Christ child. He explained that he was a theologian, and not who was expected. The real scientist escorted him out while providing directions so that my prof made it home. But it was too late: he had heard the singing stars.

A couple of weeks later, he was on a plane, headed to a Young Earth conference. He sat next to a man going to the same meeting. His seat mate shared a theory that air pollution impeded the speed of sound, and when the earth was young, sound moved more quickly.

My professor asked, “So, if stars make a noise—” the man nodded to agree “—is it feasible that in Earth’s infancy, humans could have heard it?”

“Very possible,” the man replied. “We think so.”

So my Christmas gift to you is to ask you to look at those stars next week. Imagine them singing. Picture the world two thousand years ago, and the Christ child. Then imagine the Heavenly Host, with all its pitches and warbles and joy, ushering Him to earth with song.

Merry Christmas and Joy to the World! See you next year.

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