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The wise ones will follow a star,
low and large and fierce in the heavens;
but the nearer they come to it
the smaller and smaller it will grow,
till they find it the humble lantern
over some little inn or stable.
Not till we know the high things
shall we know how lowly they are.

— G.K. Chesterton (adapted)


O LORD of the Vast Unnameable Universe, let me look up to you in order to regain perspective. Let me also look down in order to find you involved in your creation…only a fraction of which we understand. But to be honest, my choice of the word ‘fraction’ is a serious overreach — as if the sum of your work could ever be perceived, like a solvable equation, an answerable question, or a whole pie from which one could parcel a fraction, a slice, sliver, or smidge.

But what I CAN know is that you are here. You are also low.
In the reach of an infant for the smiling and loving gaze of a parent.
In the open hands of sharing, the available hands of helping,
and the unclenched hands of reconciling.
In the embracing arms of protection, and outstretched arms of welcome.
The listening ears of hearing, the tireless feet of marching, the strong hearts of caring.
You are in the small things,
like tears,
like forgiveness,
like a crust of bread.

In this new year, let me look up to find you eternal. And let me look down to find you new.
Let me see you in the star overhead and in the small lamp right here.
Help me let go of tired ways of thinking. Amen.