Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Mystery of the Star of Hope



Carols ring about the hope found beneath the star. Wise men followed it. Volumes have been written about it. What was this mysterious star and how did it prophesy Jesus' arrival as a king?

Recently we had some debate as to where the star was seen. It began with a young friend who claimed the star was not found in the east. I countered with what I know best -- songs! There’s a star in the east on Christmas morn; Rise up shepherds and follow.” Or if you dig further into “The First Noel” in the second verse, “They looked up and saw a star, shining in the east beyond them far”. And that really must have been SOME star because “And to the earth it gave great light, and so it continued both day and night.” Now that’s a bright star!
 
  
I think the star was meant as a beacon, to draw us near to the One who can change us, the Savior who would save us, our God here on earth. Whether the light was a result of some celestial occurrence or the radiance of a thousand angels, it was meant for us to follow.

Astronomers and astrologists agree that a true spectacle of light may have occurred during this time. They argue about a conjunction of two planets, or a rare triple conjunction. Additionally, there is much debate as to exactly when Christ was born. There is no record of his birth, so determining exact timing is impossible. This makes it difficult to pinpoint exactly what might have been happening in the skies during Jesus’ birth.


One theory is the appearance of the planet Jupiter. By studying computer models of what would have been occurring in the sky during that part of history, it is realized that the planet Jupiter, which appears in the heavens as a very bright star, appeared in the eastern sky.


In astrological beliefs, the appearance of Jupiter in the eastern sky heralded the coming of a new king. The Magi saw the star, and traveled a great distance to bring gifts suitable for a king: gold, frankincense and myrrh. They found the infant king in humble abode, and they honored him with their gifts and their presence.



Perhaps some things are meant to remain a mystery. There are facts to support the theories presented as to the origin of the star. With faith, we ascribe to the belief of the star as a compass pointing to truth, life and resurrection. All that Jesus grew to become was displayed as promise in the light of the natal star.
 
It would serve us well to keep that light burning in our hearts, to welcome the child who would bring us salvation. We are lucky that we have seen His star, and know the Truth of a child born in a humble stable and laid in a manger. This infant King, born to bring us life everlasting. This baby who would change the world.

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