"O, Star of Wonder
Star of Night,
Star of Royal Beauty Bright
Westward leading, still proceeding,
Guide us to thy perfect light."
Every year at Christmas, families gather around a Christmas tree often illuminated by a bright and beautiful star at the top. In the midst of all the packages and bows, have you ever stopped to consider, why a star?
It's not just a nice finish to a festive tree. Historical and Biblical documents tell us an illustrious star appeared in the night sky around 4 B.C. a little over two thousand years ago. It was a night like no other, as the celestial glow hung in the sky over a cold and musty stable in Bethlehem.
Matthew 2:1-2 tells us the star was so important it prompted three men of honor, wealth, and wisdom to pack up their caravan and travel for months on the backs of camels through the desert in search of a promised King.
"We saw His star in the east, and have come to worship Him."
Why did they take this journey and where did it lead them?
Does the star matter?
This star has been discussed for centuries by scientists and theologians alike. They've never solved the mystery but historical documents prove it did exist. Some say it was supernova but Novas explode, creating bright light, but quickly burn out quickly and the journey of the three kings took months. Some say it was a comet, but comets usually pass through the atmosphere on a known schedule and there's no historical reference of a comet scheduled during the time of Christ's birth..
Others say it was the alignment of the planet Jupiter with the star Regulus and the northern star. Many scientists believe these three massive bodies of light aligned marking this miraculous event, creating the star, leading the Magi to their destination. Think about that for a moment. Scripture shows God as a triune God, God the Father, God the Son, and the Holy Spirit. On this starry night, they would have been in complete alignment for the purpose for which Jesus had come. As he burst forth from Heaven to earth, the hope of the world had been birthed.
Do the Heaven's really declare His glory?
Another common theory is the North star appeared over the stable that night. Maybe that's because the North Star is unlike any other star in the sky. It's the only star that can be seen from all hemispheres of the globe. It's the only star that aligns perfectly with the center of earth's axis. It's the only star in the universe that doesn't follow the natural order of rules for stars. The North star is considered to be more reliable than any compass. For someone lost, it's the way home.
Even if it wasn't the North Star appearing that starry night in Bethlehem, it definitely points us to a Savior declaring His glory. Jesus was and is unlike any King we'll ever encounter. He's the only God at the center of the earth's axis. He never followed the natural order of the rules that apply to all other Kings, and I can speak from experience that his guidance in my life has always been more reliable than any compass. When I've been lost, he's been my way home.
Another amazing fact about the North Star is most people find it in the night sky by first finding the two star groupings better known as the "Little Dipper" and the "Big Dipper". These constellations remain constant in their positions by the North Star, and over the course of the four seasons, as the earth rotates around the sun, the "Big & Little Dipper" rotate around the North Star completing their circular rotation in a years time..
What does this have to do with you and I?
Jesus is often referred to as the "living water" and a dipper is something in Bible times, people drank from. From the Old Testament to the New, Jesus is called the "living water flowing out of Jerusalem." In John 4, that identity comes to life as Jesus offers a historical drink of water to a woman at a well who was a prostitute, a divorcee, and a live-in girlfriend with a broken reputation and a shattered heart. He offered her a drink that would not only quench her thirst but wash away all her filth no matter how dirty she might have looked to the rest of the world.
Does the origin of the star matter?
Sometimes the unknown details are meant to be just that, unknown. Not knowing keeps us searching and open to the supernatural power of God and prompts us to keep listening to the voice of the Creator for answers. For the Magi, that searching led them to the King. They followed a path to the ruler of the universe who had come to bring hope, mercy, forgiveness, and love to the world.
That star wasn't just for them. It's for us. Supernaturally, the Creator of the Universe, chose to mark an unusual star with a cup in the nighttime sky. As every human being has the opportunity to look up, the message is crystal clear. Jesus came to offer everyone the opportunity to drink from a cup offered out of love, giving us all a chance to drink three hundred and sixty-five days a year! If we take the cup he offers, we will never long again for empty things like money, drugs, pornography, prostitution, lust, or divorce or any other area of our hearts where we thirst.
What's the takeaway?
So this year, take a stroll outside and consider the wonder that the Magi saw. Look up at the majestic North Star marked by the "Big Dipper" and drink in the love the God of the universe has to offer through the King who came in a manger for the sake of your hope and your peace. No matter what your past or present holds, your Father holds the promise of a future beyond your wildest dreams. This Christmas season, as you gaze upon the star on your tree, celebrate the King who marked his arrival with a light and a cup and take a drink!
Do you want to live in a war-torn castle or a peaceful palace?
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