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In every culture, stars have been symbolic of hope and the ability to fulfill one’s dreams.

The past years fled when I overheard the little child’s voice. Her parents had taken her to see the holiday lights in Washington, D.C. It was a clear, crisp December evening. The child spotted a lighted star on top of a chimney. "Oh, look!" she said. "Star light, star bright, first star I see tonight, I wish I may, I wish I might have the wish I wish tonight." There was nothing comic in her wish, and nothing was lessened by her mistaking an artificial star near at hand for a blazing orb light years away. The moment was sincere, innocent, and wrapped in wonder.

It is not by accident, I think, that a star is an important symbol of so many of the world’s great religions. Whether it is the Star and Crescent of Islam, the Star of David, or the Star of the Nativity (or, for that matter, its importance in the Hindu, Maya, and Nordic traditions, among many others), the star is a symbol of light, guidance, and hope. It has inspired men and women of every age, every faith, every nation, and every era. To the Ancient Egyptians, stars were the souls of the happy dead. To a modern scientist, stars are a demonstration of the great principles of a rational universe. To all, stars are a source of wonder.

At this good season of the year, the star is seen more often than at any other time as a symbol of hope and of God’s love. The Scottish Rite, for instance, uses a star to symbolize many things, but primary among them is the power of God, radiating throughout the universe. It is the symbol that we are not alone, no matter how lonely we may feel. God is with us.

Star light... There is a beauty in a star, in that point of light which seems to wink at us, as if sharing a secret joke. It reminds us that there is hope for man, so long as we do not take ourselves too seriously. It reminds us of perspective and the importance of balance. A confrontation with a colleague, a disappointment in our investments, the frustrations of daily living seem very small compared with the immensity of the universe and those laughing stars, inviting us to share in a cosmic good humor. The beauty of a star is the beauty of a laughing child, so long as we can look with child-like eyes.

Star bright... We have all known men and women who were bright, who seemed to light a room just by walking into it. They come in every size and shape and color, but there is one constant—they care. Their focus is not on their own needs and problems, but on the needs and problems of others. They make us feel better because of their presence. Often, even if we have known them for years, we know little about them. They would never think to tell us about their own health, but they never fail to inquire, seriously and sympathetically, about ours. They have discovered the great Masonic "secret" as phrased by Albert Pike—"What we do for ourselves alone dies with us; what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal." The glory and wonder is that each of us can be such a source of brightness in the lives of others, if we just decide to care more about them than about ourselves.

First star I see tonight... There is another wonder. Each night, we can see the stars for the first time. We can, if we are so minded, recapture the rapture. We can look upon the first star we see and think of our individual faiths and our relationship with the infinite. We can feel that expansion of the soul which comes when we realize, again, that we are not limited to time and space, that our body is not all there is to man, that we are far, far more than some chemical accident. There are no accidents in a universe of order.

I wish I may, I wish I might have the wish I wish tonight. Wisely are we warned, "Be careful what you wish for, you may get it." Most of us have had the experience of wanting something to happen and, subsequently, being very glad that it did not. Many of the world’s great religions warn that what we think about and concentrate upon, we will become.

But selfish or self-serving wishes have a price, and that price can be very high. The man who spends his life thinking about and acquiring great wealth may suddenly realize that he has acquired it—and lost friends, family, and joy in the process. A typical and real complaint of the "baby boomers" is "We have it all, and it isn’t enough!" There are even classes offered now, classes with high attendance, teaching people how to want less and live with less so that they have time to be human and happy. What, indeed, shall it profit a man if he gain the entire world and lose his soul?

Wishes have power because they are reflections of our focus, and that power can be used for good. To intend well is important. To desire to make the world better for everyone is good, and good comes from it. Regard the life of a Princess Diana, an Albert Schweitzer or a Mother Theresa, and the good becomes evident.

So, at this sacred season, I wish for you growth as a person and as a Mason. I wish for you the excitement of the universe. But especially, I wish for you the child-like wonder and joy which can see a star, love its beauty, utter a wish, and make that wish come true.


Visitor's Welcome

It is always a pleasure to welcome visitors to the Headquarters of the Supreme Council at 1733 Sixteenth Street, NW, Washington, DC 20009–3103. Located on Sixteenth Street between R and S Streets, seven blocks NE of the Dupont Circle Metro stop, Red Line, the building is open to Brothers, guests, and the general public for tours from 8 am to 2 pm on weekdays. We are also open on weekends and holidays for groups of 25 or more, provided special arrangements are made in advance (30-day arrangement appreciated) with the Grand Executive Director's office (202) 232–3579. Visitors are requested to register at the door.