Follow that star. We should try and avoid putting up artificial lights outside but instead look to the heavens for natural light. The star of Bethlehem or 'Christmas Star' which the three wise men followed, is regarded as seasonal symbol throughout the world and the Winter Solstice today marks the beginning of the days lengthening again and the promise of the year to come. The best places to stargaze are those free of artificial light such as at one of the many Dark Skies Reserves in National Parks across the UK - great places to visit at Christmas or any time of the year.
The rhythm of life is orchestrated by the natural patterns of light and dark and it's worth pondering and re-thinking our own individual contributions to light pollution which not only wastes energy but also disrupts the world's eco-systems by having negative and deadly effects on many plants and creatures.
These include animals whose interactions and predator-prey relations are altered causing them physiological harm; amphibians - interfering with reproduction by disrupting nocturnal night-time croaking which is part of their breeding ritual; turtle hatchlings who ordinarily look to the bright horizon over the ocean to draw them into the sea but are pulled away by artificial lights and die unnecessarily; birds and insects - causing those who migrate or hunt by moon or starlight to wander off course and needlessly die by colliding with lit up buildings as un-natural light influences their natural rhythms and timings. Birds migrate too early or late to miss nesting and foraging, already declining insect populations are drawn to light which can often be their demise and this negatively affects all species that rely on them for food, including plants for pollination.
The good news is that we can reduce light pollution by only using light when and where it's really needed and ensuring we're shielding those lights properly and using energy efficient bulbs.