With Christmas on the horizon, I wanted to take a second to look at part of the Christmas story, the magi and the star of Bethlehem.
“…behold, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying, ‘Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him.’ … They went on their way; and behold, the star, which they had seen in the east, went on ahead of them until it came to a stop over the place where the Child was to be found. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. And after they came into the house, they saw the Child with His mother Mary; and they fell down and worshiped Him.”
-Matthew 2: 1- 2, 9-11
This is a very literal instance of what King David spoke of in the Psalms when he wrote, “The heavens declare the glory of God” (Psalm 19). A star in the sky told these men about the glory of God, and the wise men were listening.
This year at Christmas we have a rare treat. We have a chance to reflect on the lives of those wise men and the star announcing the arrival of Jesus because we have a “Christmas Star” of our own. In their normal journey around the sun, on December 21st, Saturn and Jupiter will be in line based on our perspective of them.
If you’ve looked up in the sky, facing southwest any time in the last few days you might have seen both of these bright lights in the night sky, and they’ve been getting closer and closer together. On December 21st, they’ll be the closest they’ve been together in the night sky since the 1600’s. Right now they both look like individual lights in the sky, but on December 21st, they’ll be close enough that they look like one giant brilliant star! (though neither of them are stars) Here is a graphic of how they’ll look over the next few nights, each evening getting closer and closer together.
When the magi saw the bright light in the sky, they followed it to the manger of Jesus. I am definitely not telling you to venture to the southwest following the “star”. I AM telling you that you should take some time looking up at it. Spend some time reflecting on the beauty all around us that points us to our heavenly Father. This astronomical rarity might not happen all the time, but God puts natural beauty all around us every day. He is such a loving God to not only give us things that are good but also so many things that are beautiful.
I invite you to spend this last week(ish) of Advent reflecting on the beauty God has given us. The magi followed the star to get closer to Jesus; how can the beauty around you help you grow closer to Jesus this season? How can we be like the wise men, going great lengths to find Jesus and celebrate his glory?