Commenter Roger G sends along a greeting to the whole orthosphere:
Christmas almost being upon us, again I am reminded of a science fiction short story that I read long ago, and still find particularly moving. In a recent email exchange with Tom I sent him the summary below, and asked if he recalled the author and title. He did not, but maybe someone else out there will.
The protagonist is captain of an enormous alien ship. His race learned of their world’s coming destruction in time to build the vessel, and escaped to search the galaxy for a new home. Initially they had seen the journey as a great adventure, but having long failed to find a suitable planet for themselves, they have become despondent.
They discover what turns out to be Earth, and view it at first with great hope. The ship is placed in a geosynchronous parking orbit, and the captain leads a patrol down to conduct sustainability tests. To their despair, they determine conditions on Earth to be unsuitable.
They come upon a scene that turns out to be the Nativity. Mary, being who she is, knows who they are without requiring explanation, and comprehends their plight. She tells them that God has in fact sent them as a sign of man’s deliverance, and that just as He is giving humanity a Savior, so likewise will He provide for them.
As to the sign, their orbiting ship is the Star of Bethlehem.
Merry Christmas to you all!