“O star of wonder, star of night, star with royal beauty bright, west-ward leading, still proceeding, guide us to thy perfect light….”
Those are just a couple of lines from the familiar Christmas Carol, We Three Kings*. The popular Carol is often sung at Church Christmas pageants, with the usual bath-robed and towel turbaned three children walking down the aisle, carrying their tin foiled gifts of Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh, to kneel at the manger of baby Jesus.
It was over two thousand years ago that these mysterious Wisemen so determinedly followed an intriguing star in the ancient sky, through 'field and fountain, moor and mountain,' and were rewarded with finding the Christ Child, where they worshipped Him.
Most in our modern world have heard of that rare aligning of the planets Jupiter and Saturn that occurred on December 21st. It was aptly given the name of The Christmas Star. Many biblical scholars and scientists believe that the planets Jupiter and Saturn aligned, along with other celestial bodies, during the birth of Christ and hasn’t been seen in almost eight centuries.
I really wanted to see the Christmas Star. The last time the planets formed a closer conjunction and lit up the sky so brilliantly was on March 4, 1226. It would be a sight to behold and it made me feel a slight kinship to those Wisemen of old who had witnessed something similar and burned within to learn more about it. But unlike the Wiseman I wasn’t going to load up my camel and travel across treacherous lands. I was simply planning on observing it from my back deck.
This event was different and not exactly the same as the original Star of Bethlehem. We also don’t really know what possible spiritual significance it has, but Christians do believe that God is revealing His signs of the times. We can only wonder what that could be.
I didn’t get to see the star. The night skies had other plans for me, and most of Canada in fact, as our sky was overcast with clouds, obscuring the view. So I settled for some magnificent pictures captured around the world. Still, I wish I had seen it.
All the talk of the Christmas star made we wonder how the Wisemen felt each night as they lay their heads down, the star of Bethlehem shining overhead, “always leading, always guiding,” as the song says. They must have anticipated what they would find. Would they find anything at all?
In Matthew 2: 9 -12 we are told a part of their story,
“When they had heard the King (Herod) they departed, and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was.
“When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.
And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, the presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.
And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way.” KJV
Our own Christmas Star all these years later leads me to believe that God is still asking us to trust Him and follow Him. Through the deserts of our lives, through the treachery, through the mystery and unanswered questions. While we aren't to worship the stars or use them to guide our personal lives, they do speak to us of God's glory and are a constant reassurance of His presence.
"Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created these things, that bringeth out their host by number: he calleth them all by names by the greatness of his might, for that he is strong in power; not one faileth." Isaiah 41:6 NKJ
2020 was no easy year for pretty much anyone on the face of the earth. Some have had it much harder than others with the loss of loved ones, through Covid or consequences from Covid restrictions, others have lost businesses or suffered trauma through abuse or neglect, made easier through isolation. It’s heart-breaking. There was much heart break in the days after Jesus birth, as when the Wisemen felt directed to not bring King Herod the news of where they had found the baby, he sent soldiers to Bethlehem, prophesied as the place of His birth, to kill all of the male children two years and under. Bethlehem became a place of weeping and mourning.
What is God doing on the face of the earth today through our own sufferings and grief? Where do we find Him? Thirty three years after His birth this same Jesus gave His life for our sins upon a Cross. He has been all of ours ever since. We don’t have to physically seek after Him. But we do have to spiritually seek Him.
“If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.” Col 3:1 KJV
As we enter a new year full of uncertainties we can know that if we follow Him, He will “guide us to His perfect Light.”