Merry Christmas Eve, Happy 11th Day of Christmas, and welcome to my official 100th post! Can’t believe I’ve been blogging that long! So it’s fitting to celebrate by giving you the next to last part of Stille Nacht! Thank you so much for joining me today! Let’s go star gazing! (Don’t forget to visit Stories by Firefly for more Christmas Eve Fun!)
Part Seven: The Christmas Star
Rudi grabbed his jacket and hat and followed the boys outside. Sarge stood and followed. “I could use some air.”
Lars and Adler remained at the table, staring into their empty bowls until Marta took them to the sink. Lars chanced a glance at Adler. “What happened to your family?”
Adler let his breath out in a rush. “They, um,” he cleared his throat. “They weren’t able to get out of Germany before the boarders closed. A friend wrote me and said they were transported to a concentration camp called Dachau.”
Lars winced and shook his head. “Do you know if they are still alive?”
Adler swallowed. “Mama died two months after arrival. Papa never made it to the camp. He was gunned down at a transport when he tried to get the others to fight back. I don’t know what happened to my siblings.”
“I…I’m so sorry,” Lars said, his voice low. “My family is gone as well. They died in the Normandy storming.”
“They were at Normandy?”
Lars nodded. “I was fortunate enough to have them stationed in France with me. But I still can’t understand why they had to die, civilians, and I still live, a soldier.”
“Was it a bombing?”
“I never should have gotten into all of this! If I had pushed back, taken a stand…”
“You’d be dead.”
“Maybe. But I wouldn’t have guilt plaguing me on a daily basis.”
Adler nodded slowly. He stood and walked quietly over to Joey. The young soldier looked up at him. “Why’s everybody going outside?”
“Going to look at the stars I guess.”
Joey’s face lit up. “I want to see!”
“Alright, uh…oh, there’s your stuff. Let’s get your coat on and I’ll help you outside.”
Lars put on his coat and offered to help with Joey. They went out and helped Joey get settled on a bench beside Stefan. No one said a word, just stared up at the stars, lost in thought.
Joey smiled as he located Orion, while Stefan hunted for Leo. Lars leaned up against the house determined that this time he would find the little dipper which always seemed to evade his watchful eye. Sarge and Adler gazed up at the north star, mentally trying to map their way back to their lines.
The door swung open and Marta came out, holding Hilde’s hand. “Look, Hilde! It’s the star of Bethlehem!”
Rudi translated for Sarge as the group followed Marta’s pointing. The North Star. The brightest one in the sky.
“Is that the star that shone over Baby Jesus’ house in Bethlehem, Mama?”
Marta smiled. “We don’t know for sure, dear. But we like to think so. But do you know why it shone?”
“It was for the Wisemen to follow so they could give Jesus their presents.”
Hilde paused, then asked, “Mama, I love Jesus, but why did He have to come to earth?”
Adler shifted uncomfortably. Here we go again, he thought.
Marta hesitated. Christians had been stiffly persecuted in Germany, since their teachings contradicted Hitler. Should she risk explaining everything to her daughter in front of her guests? Or should she put Hilde off until it was safer? Marta swallowed hard. I am not ashamed of You, Lord…
“Baby Jesus came to earth and was born in a manger, because He loved us enough to die for us. He knew that since we are sinners, we could never get into heaven. So He lived a sinless life and took our sins upon Himself and died in our place. After He was buried, three days later, He rose from the dead, our eternal Lord and Savior. He did all of that because He loved us.”
“Even Hitler, Mama?”
Adler smirked and crossed his arms, eager to hear this reply. “Yes, even for Hitler, darling, if he will only ask Jesus to forgive him of his sins. He died for everyone, man, woman, adult, child, black, white, German, Jewish, American, all of us.”
“What makes you so sure that Jesus is the Savior, the Messiah?” Adler challenged, though the words lacked the bite he normally intoned.
Marta smiled and quoted, “But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting. (Micah 5:2) Jesus was of Bethlehem, was He not?”
“Well, yes, I suppose so.”
“Do you know anyone else of Bethlehem that had done as great things as Jesus?”
“If what they say is true, no.”
“Isaiah 40:11 says, He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young. Wouldn’t you say Jesus fits that description? He certainly loved the weak and children. He seems like a shepherd to me.
“Isaiah 49:6 says, And he said, It is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth. Thus far, I would guess that more Gentiles have come to accept Christ than Jews. And He is our Light.”
Marta wrapped her shawl tightly about her. “There are many more verses that solidify who Jesus is, Pvt. Adler. I challenge you, get a Bible and read the Old Testament. Find the prophecy of the Messiah and see if Jesus doesn’t measure up to every one of them.”
Adler nodded slowly. “I’ll think about it.”
“I’ve got a Bible you can use,” Sarge reminded.
Joey shivered and winced as pain sliced through his leg. Rudi turned to him. “We’d best get him inside. He needs to rest.”
“We all do,” Marta said, opening the door. As they all entered the house, Marta entered a small room and brought out three blankets. “I’m sorry this is all I can spare.”
The soldiers pulled out their own blankets. “We should be able to make do, Frau, thank you,” Lars assured her.
“Then good night,” she said, leading Hilde into the little room.
Joey, Stefan and Harold got the extra blankets. Pallets were made by the fire and each agreed that whoever woke up during the night would chuck on another piece of wood.
As the others faded off to sleep, Rudi checked on Joey one more time. Satisfied that he was sleeping peacefully, he turned back towards their pallets. Lars was looking out the window. “Something wrong?”
Lars shook his head and grinned. “No. I just found the little dipper.”
Be sure and come back tomorrow for the conclusion of Stille Nacht! Have a very Merry Christmas!
Christian. American. Southern. Author.