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A Star, A Star

I heard on the radio that for only $59.99 you can name a star. Phhfft! I can name any star I want for free. Because in the first place they all belong to me. I can brand anything in the sky I want. "Hey, Helga, howzit hangin?" I say to a cloud. "Lookin’ fine, Fritz," I tell a pigeon. Everything in the sky and I are on a first name basis and who’s to say any different?

One year for Christmas I gave out stars for friend-and-neighbor gifts. I created a very authentic-looking deed on my computer, made up the coordinates, and voilà … coolest gift ever! Brightest too.

I just assumed that everyone would know it wasn’t an actual deed to a star, so I was surprised to hear that many people were blown away by that gift. "Wow, can you believe what the the Winegars gave everyone?" "It must have cost them a fortune!" " I can't believe we have our own star!" "What a wonderful, lasting gift!"

One neighbor dropped off a reciprocal cookie-plate one evening and mentioned that they were planning to buy a telescope so they could view their star.

“Oh you don’t need to buy a telescope,” I said, “Let me show you which one it is.” I pointed straight up to a prominent star. “See that one? That’s yours.” He was very grateful.

People are so gullible. The following January I sent each of our star owners a Property Tax Notice. It looked quite authentic with the body mass measurements and coordinates. The notification instructed them where to make their payment, and the address just happened to be my own. One clueless soul actually sent out a check in the amount of $124.73. Sheesh, that's more than I paid for the gift itself! I should have cashed it just to teach them a lesson, but instead I chose to embarrass and humiliate them by explaining that it was a hoax. Wow. Really people?

How anyone can think they are entitled to own a star, or even name it, is beyond me. It takes a lot of gall. If someone were to maybe homestead a star, I’d feel they might have a justifiable right. Star-squatting. For now, however, you have my permission (not that you need it) to Claim and Name anything in the sky, be it star, cloud or pigeon.

On a very amateur level, I’ve always been fascinated by the stars—especially the constellations. I marvel at their constant movement in precisely the same position.

When the Magi or Wisemen of old first spotted a brilliant star in the heavens, they must have been flabbergasted. A new star? That was something you didn’t see every night. It had significance beyond anything in their lives so far, and they were compelled to follow in the direction of that unnamed celestial body.

It must have been a great phenomenon that the star held steady in the east, not moving them in a different direction every hour like the other stars would have done had they chosen to follow one of them. It makes my head swim to think how many routes there would be to follow. They would literally traveled in circles. Even now there is only one star that holds steady. More impressive is the Creator of all the stars, named and unnamed. He is the very center of this season.

May your Christmas this year be filled with the wonder of the heavens. Just don’t be deceived by charlatans selling or giving away stars. ​

"Peace on earth to All Men"

Original Airbrush Painting

By Gail Winegar