On December 21, 2020, at 5:30 pm, we set out for the perfect view of Saturn and Jupiter. This was a once in a lifetime experience, as the last time this phenomenon occurred was eight-hundred years earlier. On the off-road, facing southwest, we followed this "Christmas-time" star. Sure enough, the two planets aligned so closely, they shined as one bright, beautiful, larger-than-life "star" in the sky. I’m not sure I would have been observant enough to even notice, if not foretold in the news.
The Magi, rather, spied the particular "star" leading to the Savior. They were students of the stars and spent their lives pursuing the wisdom in the sky. On entry into Jerusalem, they inquired: “Where is the newborn King of the Jews? We saw his star at its rising and have come to do him homage.” They KNEW the star revealed the mystery of this cosmic event, for the “Heavens declare the glory of God; the firmament proclaims the word of His hands (Psalm 19:1).”
In an interesting documentary (not necessarily an endorsement), The Star of Bethlehem, Rick Larson makes the case that the “star” leading to Bethlehem was a natural event—the alignment of two planets. Though natural, still a miracle as the Magi understood the prophecies and pursued the truth found in the skies. They navigated by the stars and would have been keenly aware of any new star or particular movement of the planets. Larson shows Scripture predicting the timing of Jesus’ birth, while the Heavens announce the birth of our Savior. God created each star, planet, and galaxy to declare our salvation through the birth of our Lord.
No matter how the Star of Bethlehem occurred, it shone brightly enough to lead the Magi to the Savior, Jesus Christ. Ever since, as Christians, we are to shine as stars, leading others to the newborn King. As parents/grandparents, we lead our children to Jesus by kneeling at the manger and recounting the miraculous birth of Jesus, by lying underneath the sky in awe and wonder of God's majesty, and by bringing our children to the Eucharist where we receive Jesus, the Creator of the entire universe, in the smallest piece of consecrated bread. All declared and all for us and our salvation! Now, that’s good news!
How do you lead others to Jesus?
How would you explain the significance of the Star of Bethlehem?
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay
Naming Grace in the Domestic Church reflects on Scripture through the lens of a parent/grandparent. To contact Mary Pedersen about her reflections, preaching, or speaking engagements: www.mary pedersen.com
The Star of Bethlehem Documentary (Rick Larson): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_IKlvhJdx-g&list=PLDeREbOf-Q-EW6qOrIMQSg4vOs4tgVSZo
The blog on this page presents reflections on the Sunday readings through the lens of a parent/grandparent, aiding leaders of the domestic church in their vital task as “first heralds” or “first preachers” of the Good News in the home.