Friday, December 11, 2020

Homemade 'Christmas Star' illuminates Raymond backyard

Cheryl Blanchard of Raymond created a Christmas
Star for her backyard to remind us all how blessed
we are in this time of year. SUBMITTED PHOTO 
By Ed Pierce

In one of the most enduring stories of the Bible, the three wise men known as the “Magi” travel to Bethlehem for the birth of the infant Jesus and are led to his doorstep by a shining celestial light known as the “Christmas Star.”

The tale of the “Christmas Star” and the Magi has been depicted for more than 12 centuries as part of Nativity pageants in churches and portrayed by generations of schoolchildren and in films and television programs. Partly inspired by the Bible story and using her creative ability, a local woman has made her own “Christmas Star” for this year for everyone driving by her home on Route 85 in Raymond to see.

“I created a star to represent us all far and near,” said Cheryl Blanchard of Raymond. “It’s to help remind us all of how blessed we are in this time of year.”

Blanchard said she’s always been very creative and engaged in a variety of arts and that her homemade star is an expression of what she is feeling for everyone this Christmas season.

“It's been a very emotionally hard year for all who I know and my dear loved ones,” she said. “There
are so many memories that are not happening this year due to the pandemic. I was thinking it would be so nice if I could send out a special message to everyone.”

She said that she drew inspiration for the star from having performed for the past 15 years in the production Christmas Nativity/Christmas Pageant with the City of Portland at First Parish Church on Congress Street. She’s also been involved through the years with holiday community dinners, horse and buggy sleigh rides up around the Christmas Tree at Monument Square in Portland, caroling with her sisters and sharing her special Christmas memories with her grandchildren.

“I'm truly blessed. I'm so grateful, Blanchard said. “I often drive through the streets and see so many people in the lines at local food pantries and so many children who sure could use a nice warm coat. Christmas brings back memories that I wrote about in my book 236 Cumberland Avenue Portland Maine. I created a star to send out a very special message of hope for you all this Christmas. 

“I made this star with some coat hangers and light silver tinsel,” Blanchard said. “But where was I going to put this very big star so it could be seen by all.”

Her husband, Moe Blanchard, who works at First Baptist Church, had an idea.

The Christmas Star created by Cheryl 
Blanchard can be viewed about three
miles north of Raymond on Route 85.
“He thought we should put it up as high as we can,” she said. “He boosted my star up in the sky as high as he could, and when he did that, we stood back and saw the most amazingly beautiful creative star.”

Since her husband first put the star up in the couple’s back yard between some tall trees around Thanksgiving, there have been two serious storms, one was a significant windstorm with gusts reaching 60 mph and the other was a snowstorm last weekend accompanied by strong winds that knocked out power in the area for many and toppled trees.

Yet despite the destructive winds and snowfall, Blanchard’s “Christmas Star” has stayed put.

“Can you believe it, it’s up in the open air where the wind can blow really hard and believe me it did,” Blanchard said. “So maybe it's a message for all to see in our beautiful holiday season. It serves to remind us just remember how truly blessed we are. I hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas and to hold your loved ones and to reach out to those less fortunate with kindness and love in your heart.”

If driving, Blanchard’s “Christmas Star” can be viewed three miles north on the left side of Route 85 from Raymond. <


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