“Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, ‘Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.’” (Matthew 2:1-2)
On December 21, 2020, a very rare phenomenon happened in our Solar System that we will be able to see until December 26th. The planets of Jupiter and Saturn will engage in their “great conjunction.” The last time the two planets appeared this close to each other was in the year 1226. They will seem so close to each other that they may appear to be one in the same. Some have even suggested that these two planets might be THE Star of Bethlehem.
The star that pointed to the birthplace of Jesus Christ has been a consistent part of our annual Christmas celebrations. It can be found at the top of Christmas trees, featured in Christmas songs, and printed on the front of Christmas cards. The role of this star was to spotlight and pinpoint where hope could be found in a very dark world.
Light interrupting darkness is a consistent theme throughout Scripture and the gospel. In Genesis 1, “God said ‘let there be light,’ and there was light.” God’s powerful word spoke into existence something out of nothing. God’s Word is a creative Word. It creates what it says. If God says something to be created, it is created. The gospel of John 1:1-18 reveals to us that God’s Word is also a person; the person of God the Son, Jesus Christ. John is also full of references to light. Here are a few verses.
- “In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” (John 1:4-5)
- “Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.’” (John 8:12)
The Holy Spirit was present in creation. As the Word was speaking, “the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters” (Genesis 1:2). When the gospel is spoken, the Holy Spirit says to the dead, dark soul “Christ was crucified for the forgiveness of your sins, let there be light, let there be life.”
The gospel “is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes” (Romans 1:16). It is a big bang explosion of faith in Christ; of eternal life into the dead sinner. It is a supernova star of power creating life where there was no life. “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ” (Romans 10:17). Whenever this good news is heralded, whenever the word of the gospel is cracking and combusting on the sinner’s ear, the Word is bringing to life one who is dead. Something out of nothing. The light of Christ is lighting up the dead world of the sinner.
This miracle of the gift of faith is very much like the Christmas star. It came without invitation. It came without our deciding to accept it. It came without us choosing to believe it was true. It absolutely did not come because we deserved it. It came and lit up the night sky for all to see that a Savior had been born. It came as a pure gift from the joy of God to the world. The promised seed to Eve (Genesis 3:14-15), the promised seed to Abraham (Genesis 22:18), the promised seed to you and to me has been born. The promised seed is the Messiah, the Savior, the Christ. One who will save us from our sins.
“Now the promises were made to Abraham and to his offspring. It does not say, “And to offsprings,” referring to many, but referring to one, “And to your offspring,” who is Christ” (Galatians 3:16).
God’s promise of a Messiah was born on Christmas day.
I am not necessarily saying that what we may see between December 21-26 is the actual “Christmas Star.” But if you do choose to look up and see this light in the sky, remember, that the Christmas Star was needed 2,020 years ago and it is still needed today to light our way.
The world may appear dark and uncertain. But the Word, the Light of the World, the Savior of us all, Jesus Christ was born under a star to die for the forgiveness of our sins and be raised for our justification. The Christmas Star 2020 is a great reminder that what we need, God always supplies.