May 25, 2019

The Gift of Light

The great hall was alive with the voices of millions of stars. Since the beginning of creation, this was the first time God had asked the stars to gather in one place. Many of them had their own ideas why God would call such a meeting. Some thought he was going to ask for volunteers to train new stars. Others thought he was going to make new planets and needed stars to light and heat them. But not one star really knew why they had been called, for none of them knew what was in the mind of God.

Try to imagine what a sight this was! A large room filled with millions of stars shining brightly. It was so bright that the stars had to wear special star glasses. Star glasses are like sun glasses, only much darker and much safer for the eyes.

In one of the corners of the room, alone and very shy, sat a tiny star named Hubie. He was so small that his light was barely visible. While many stars provided heat and light for entire solar systems, this little fellow was the only source of light and heat to a single planet no bigger than the Earth’s moon. Of course, it was enough for the little planet, but compared to the other stars, Hubie was just an unimportant dot of light on the far edge of the universe.

So he sat quietly, hoping that no one would see him there. He was afraid that if he tried to join in the conversations, he would be laughed at because of his lack of brilliance.

Then just what he feared happened. A large star from the constellation Orion spotted him. “Hey, fellas!” he shouted. “Check out this little guy over here. Isn’t he the tiniest thing you’ve ever seen? What’s your name, pal?”

Hubie was too shy and too embarrassed to answer.

“What’s the matter?” the big star asked. “Are your batteries dead?” He laughed loudly at his own joke, and soon other stars joined in.

“Somebody throw water on you, buddy?” one shouted.

“Forget to pay your light bill this month?” another added.

And so it went. Several stars made unkind, hurtful comments. And then all the stars took off their star glasses and stared at this tiniest star. Hubie’s small flicker of light could be looked at without so much as a blink!

Hubie was so embarrassed that what little light he had began to glow a deep red, and he wished that he could simply melt into the chair in which he sat.

Happily for Hubie, a trumpet blast from the rear of the hall announced the approach of God. The stars quickly ended their cruel game and turned toward a stage at the other end of the hall.

God walked in like a king, followed closely by the angels Michael and Gabriel. The stars bowed lowly as God mounted the stage. A microphone would not be necessary. After all, God’s voice can easily be heard if one truly wishes to listen.

“I have asked you all here today,” God began, “because one of you is needed for a special project I have planned for tonight. Now, as you all know, I could make any one of you do this, but I would rather have you volunteer.

“At this time Gabriel will call the roll, starting with the letter A, and each star in his own proper turn will step forward and say whether he or she will volunteer or not. Remember, the choice is completely yours.”

Gabriel unrolled a huge golden scroll and called out the first name: “Alpha Centauri!”

Alpha, or “Big Al” as his friends called him, stepped forward.

“I am deeply sorry, sir,” Al said. “I would love to help, but I have a rather large solar system to light and heat, and I just can’t be away too long. In fact, it’s probably very cold and dark there right now. I hope you understand.”

God assured Big Al that he did, indeed, understand.

Big Al bowed to God and quietly left the great hall to return to his duties.

God nodded to Gabriel to call the next name.

Beta Ara stepped forward. He was a supergiant, nearly a hundred times bigger than the Earth’s sun.

“Lord,” be began, breathing heavily and sweating freely, “as you can see, I’m not in the best of shape. If you could wait a year or two while I drop a few pounds, maybe I could help you. As things stand now, I just don’t have the energy to do much more than what I’m currently doing. So, if it’s not too much of a problem, may I be excused, also?”

“Well, I can’t wait for a year or two,” God said kindly, “but, yes, you may leave.”

Beta Ara wanted to bow deeply, but because he was so large, he simply couldn’t do it. So he nodded his head a little and then waddled from the hall.

Gabriel continued through the scroll, but each star he called had an excuse. Eventually he came to the list of stars whose names began with the letter H.

“Hollorius Iptha,” Gabriel announced. Hubie shrank back and tried to hide behind the stars standing in front of him. His name was next on the list. He knew what would happen. Everyone would take off their star glasses and laugh at him. He wasn’t sure what he should do. Should he find a place to hide or just run from the hall?

A very old, tired-looking star stood before God. “I’m sorry, my Lord,” Hollorius said in a shaky voice. “As you can see, I have a terrible case of sunspots right now. I’m just beside myself with eruptions.”

A wave of laughter spread across the hall.

“Order! Order!” shouted Michael.

It took several seconds for the stars to settle down. “Read the next name, Gabriel,” God ordered gently.

For a moment Gabriel seemed confused. Then he announced, “Iabelma.”

Hubie sighed with relief as a very lovely star walked forward. For some reason, Gabriel had skipped his name. Hubie was happy that he would not be laughed at, but he was also sad because he wished he could do something for God.

As Gabriel continued the roll call, each star had an excuse for not helping. Even Polaris, the North Star, a star who was known for helping others, had a reason not to volunteer.

He said, “Great Creator, you know that I would rather burn out than disappoint you. But I am a guiding star for many sailors on the planet called Earth. I cannot abandon them alone on the great seas you have so masterfully created. It would be an unholy thing to do. Certainly you understand my position.”

God smiled, winked at Polaris, and then excused him to go and perform his important duty.

Gabriel continued calling names, but the result was always the same. Not one star wanted to help. Soon the great hall was empty. God stood there with no expression on his face.

Gabriel felt very sad. “Is there something I could do?” he asked.

“No, I don’t believe so,” God answered. “I really would like to have a star for this job, but perhaps a comet will work just as well. Still, it won’t be the same.”

Michael, who had fought the bad angels, was angry. “Why didn’t you make one of them do it, sir?” he asked.

God put his arm over the archangel’s shoulder, slowly shook his head, and said, “No. You know I don’t do things that way. Come, let’s go over to the comet area and see if we can get a volunteer from there.”

God, Gabriel, and Michael had nearly reached the door when God suddenly stopped.

“What’s the matter?” Gabriel asked.

“I thought I heard something,” God replied.

“What did you hear?” Michael wondered.

“I believe I heard the very faint voice of a star.” Turning toward the direction from which the sound came, God could see a tiny speck of light. “Is anyone there?” God called.

“I’m here,” a very small voice said.

“Who are you?” God questioned as the dot of light grew ever so brighter as it approached the trio.

“It is I, sir,” the voice declared. “I’m Hubie, one of your stars. I provide the light and heat for the planet Micro on the far edge of the universe.”

Instantly there was a look of recognition on God’s face. “Hubie! Of course! How are you, my boy?”

“Just fine, sir. How are you feeling?” he asked. His light began to take on a reddish glow again as he felt somewhat embarrassed for asking God how he was feeling. After all, how else could God feel but absolutely perfect?

“Absolutely perfect, Hubie,” God replied. (Hubie’s glow became redder.) “Say, what can I do for you?”

Hubie shook off his embarrassment and cleared his throat. “Well, sir,” he began nervously, “I was thinking I could do something for you. I know I’m not too bright, but I was just hoping you might be able to use me. I would try really hard, and I’m really dependable, and I just . . .”

His voice trailed off as he lost what little confidence he had.

God thought for a moment and then asked, “Why didn’t you volunteer when the roll was called?”

“My name wasn’t called, sir.”

Now it was Gabriel’s turn to feel embarrassed. “I thought I called everyone, but maybe when the stars were laughing at Hollorius, I might have missed Hubie’s name. I’m truly sorry.”

God smiled warmly. “Don’t worry. You’re not perfect.” He turned toward Hubie and said, “Hubie, my lad, the job is yours. Come. We must get ready.”

The four figures moved quickly out of the hall. Hubie ran behind, wondering what the job actually was.

As they crossed the Celestial Bridge that led to the Divine Palace, Hubie’s curiosity could not be restrained any longer. He just had to know what he had volunteered for. “Excuse me, sir,” he called out. “Could you tell me exactly what it is I’m going to do tonight?”

God, neither stopping nor looking back, calmly replied, “Tonight, my little friend, you are going to light up a planet called Earth and show all who live there where my son has been born–my son, who shall be their savior.”

A small thumping noise made God, Gabriel, and Michael turn around. Hubie had fainted.

Finally, the hour had come. Hubie, eager and ready, was positioned directly over Earth. But he knew that no one on that planet could possible see him. He was simply too small. He began doing exercises, hoping to raise his body temperature so his glow would be a little brighter. But the exercises didn’t work. He was sure he would be a failure. Small tears began to slide down his cheeks.

God touched him on the shoulder. “Don’t worry, Hubie,” God said. “You should know that all things are possible for those who believe. You do believe in me, don’t you, Hubie?”

“You know I do, sir,” he answered.

God smiled. “Good. Now look down upon Earth. What do you see?”

“Just land and water. It sure is a beautiful planet.”

“Thank you. I did a nice job, if I do say so myself. But I need you to look closer. Here. Put these on.”

God handed Hubie what appeared to be a pair of star glasses, except for the fact that the lenses were quite clear.

“What are these?” Hubie asked.

“I call them Faith Glasses. They help people see things they ordinarily wouldn’t see. Try them.”

Hubie placed them on. “Wow!” he shouted. “These are amazing! I can see trees and people and towns!”

“Excellent,” God said. “Now follow my finger as I point to a particular town.”

Hubie obeyed and easily found the town. “I see it!” he said excitedly.

“Good. Now look to the right, just outside the town, and you will see a stable. Do you see it?”

“Yes, I see it.”

“What do you see inside?”

“I see some animals and a man and a woman. Gee, she sure is beautiful. And I see a little baby in a manger.”

God patted Hubie on the head and said, “Just keep looking at the child. He will take care of everything.”

Actually, Hubie had little choice. From the first moment he saw the child, he could not take his eyes off him.

And then it happened. Suddenly the baby’s eyes stared directly at Hubie. And in the sparkle of those eyes, Hubie saw the glory of God himself. A gentle warmth filled Hubie’s entire body. He began to grow brighter and brighter. And when the child smiled at him, Hubie burst into a radiance that lit up the entire world.

On Earth, wise men from the East saw the light and followed it to bring gifts to a newborn king. Shepherds tending their flocks near Bethlehem shielded their eyes and heard a message of hope from the angels of God.

And all across the universe, millions of stars had to put on their star glasses, and they wondered which star cast such a blinding light.

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Written by
Thomas Addis

THOMAS ADDIS is a retired high school teacher and published author, most recently authoring a children's book, A Gift of Light, which is available at Amazon. An M.A. graduate of Oakland University, he is Associate Editor of Catholic Journal. In his spare time, he enjoys reading and cycling.

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Written by Thomas Addis