The star of Bethlehem may have seemed like something from a fairy tale for many of us who heard the Christmas story told and read as a child. It’s so fantastical! How can one bright star possibly lead men to a place in Bethlehem where the Savior of the world was born?
It’s a question a child would ask. And it’s also a question an adult would ask.
When Fredrick Larson, a lawyer and professor, was faced with his daughter’s inquisitiveness as they placed the star atop the family Christmas tree, a whole new world of exploration opened up to him.
He embarked on a thorough search for the answers his daughter and many others have asked for centuries. His research and findings are clearly delineated in a video series titled The Star of Bethlehem: Unlock the Mystery of the World’s Most Famous Star. A written description is found here, and the full, four-part, documentary playlist is available here at no charge. If you haven’t seen or heard the details of Larson’s research, it is certainly worth your time and energy.
He started with scriptural identifiers and dove deep into historical and astronomical research until the “stars aligned” – literally! In the end, many are convinced he has solved the mystery of the “star of Bethlehem.”
In just a few days, we will be experiencing a similar phenomenon – an extremely rare alignment that hasn’t occurred since the Dark Ages – March 24, 1226, to be exact.
On Monday, December 21, Saturn and Jupiter, the two largest planets in our solar system, will align. Though the two planets are separated by a great distance, their alignment will cause them to appear from earth as one large, bright shining star.
Though the star of Bethlehem is believed to have included the alignment of Mars, in addition to Saturn and Jupiter, a number of similarities can be noted. It begins by recognizing a meaningful analogy. December 21 is Winter Solstice, the shortest day and longest night of the year. It is literally the darkest day of the year and the doorway into the winter season.
The environment Jesus was born into was that of great political and social unrest. The days were dark. And this bright, shining star pointed to something (Someone) altogether magnificent – the Light of the world who would dwell among us, showing us the nature of the Father and taking our sins upon Himself as the sinless Savior.
No matter how dark the days ahead may be as we prepare to enter 2021, the One who gave life to everything created, the One whose light shines in the darkness and cannot be extinguished, is here. His name is Jesus, the Christ!
As we face so much uncertainty, perhaps we are in need of another bright light that points to our one and only Savior. Have we taken our eyes off the Son? In chaos, He is the Prince of Peace. In darkness, He is the Light of the World. In the presence of evil, He is the Doorway into the Holy of Holies.
Could it be that we need a reminder of God’s power and faithfulness as we walk into this new winter season? Is God giving us a glimpse of what we are about to experience? Some believe we are on the cusp of a great awakening. Others believe we are about to come under severe persecution. Perhaps it is both.
On December 21, as we look up and see this great light in the heavens, let us give ourselves in entirety to Him, worshipping Him in spirit and in truth.
Everything is the least we can give to this King of Glory! The LORD strong and mighty, the LORD invincible in battle!
The heavens proclaim the glory of God.
The skies display his craftsmanship.
Day after day they continue to speak;
night after night they make him known.
They speak without a sound or word;
their voice is never heard.
Yet their message has gone throughout the earth,
and their words to all the world.
This advent season, let’s lift up our heads and “go tell it on the mountain!” For our redemption is drawing near.