Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Star of Bethlehem

The Star of Bethlehem is one of the best-known parts of the Christmas story. You will see this year Christmas cards with stars over Bethlehem or with the Camels and wise men. We will sing about it. The star will fill coloring books and house decorations. Many of us will put it on the top of our Christmas tree. The stained glass images of the star fill churches and cathedrals.

Some say it was a myth, created by the early church to convince people of the Messiah's birth. Many have tried to link the star to an actual astrological event. They turn the clock back on the night sky's appearance, to come up with some astrological events that might have been interpreted as this "Star of Wonder." There are many explanations on the web and they are fascinating to examine (I do wish I would have paid more attention in science class). Whatever it was, the sequence of events were enough that at least three astrologers go to Jerusalem and ask Herod: “Where is he that is born King of the Jews, for we have seen his star in the east and are come to worship him.” For the wisemen, there were no questions about the significance of the star. Their question is, Where is he that is born king of the Jews? They do not ask, whether there were such a one born?

Here is the deal for me:
I don’t know if it was a nova, super nova, or a comet, meteor, nebulae, or planetary alignment. I don’t know if it was a shooting star (even that theory doesn’t make sense to me). I do know that it a miraculous sign. How do I know? The same way I know that Mary was a virgin and angels spoke to the shepherds and a blind man received his sight and Jesus rose from the dead – because “it is by faith that a righteous person has life.” It is by faith. It is because over my 48 years of experience I have found God’s Word to be reliable, accurate, and trustworthy. I don’t follow blindly without thinking, but I live my life by faith. My belief does not override the accuracy of this Word, neither does my experience does not trump the truth of this Word. It is true whether I believe it or not. But I HAVE FOUND OUT that God is God and I am not, and I can have a relationship with him. He did send his son to die for me and he has redeemed me and forgiven me of my sins. He has healed me. He has healed my daughter. He as protected me. And He has blessed me far beyond what I deserve.
I may not be smart enough to debate the existence of a Bethlehem star, but I am smart enough to know that I am nothing without Christ and I am nothing without a hope in a Savior.

To me, it is more than a crutch; it is total life support.

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