Stars of Bethlehem

According to Matthew’s gospel, viagra buy troche great wise men (it is not specifically known how many) from the East came bearing three gifts to the Christ child two thousand years ago.     Inspired by a spectacular moving star they set out on at least a two-year journey that eventually led them to Bethlehem, search the birthplace of Christ (Matthew 2:1-2).   When they arrived they immediately recognized that Jesus was born to be the Savior of the world.   Through an omniscient and sovereign God, see these men, without hesitation, worshipped Jesus when they found Him (Matthew 2:10-11).   How was it possible for these men who lived so far from Israel (God’s chosen center of evangelism) to find this path to their own salvation via a moving star?   Could such a star that moved continuously from one part of the world to the next according to the will of God even exist?   And if so, what does this tell our children (God’s future church) today about His desire and resolve to use them as His guiding stars to reach their generation with the message of salvation (2 Timothy2: 3-4)?

Historically speaking, and without much argument, the star of Bethlehem actually existed around the time of Jesus’ birth.   According to astronomy records, a remarkable conjunction of planets (Jupiter and Saturn in the constellation Pisces), which only occurs every eight hundred years, took place two years previous to the birth of Christ.  It is ascertained by several Christian scholars that this star cluster was perhaps the first sign that initiated the wise men’s sojourn to Bethlehem.     It was an extraordinary brilliant spectacle in the night sky; everyone in the East would have taken note of it.   In the year following, another planet (Mars) joined this constellation.   As a result, these three planets (Jupiter, Saturn, Mars) joined together appearing as an extraordinary effervescent star.   This conjunction of stars took place over Jerusalem right before the birth of Jesus.  The final movement of the Bethlehem star from Jerusalem to Bethlehem (the night of Jesus’ birth) was according the Chinese astronomers of the day, like a purpose driven meteor.

Personally, I love the way these star clusters noted by the historians and Christian scholars collaborated much of Matthew’s account concerning the star of Bethlehem.   But whether God used His own created star system or a miraculous single star 2000 years ago matters little in comparison to God’s overall plan for His creation. God’s purpose, for example, in bringing the wise men to the manger was for the sake of their own salvation (John 6:44; John 1:1-4,9).   Whether their faith preceded their journey to Bethlehem or culminated at its end, there is little doubt these men believed in Jesus as their Savior (Matthew 2:11).

When they concluded their worship, they returned home.   During their journey home, the light of a guiding star was not needed.  The star that led them to Bethlehem was not the same light that brought them home.   That light was the light they received when they put their faith in God’s provision for their salvation, Jesus Christ, the Son of God.  Thirty years later Jesus Himself would state to those who put their trust in Him as the Son of God, “You are the light of the world, a city set on a hill (Matthew 5:14). ”  The wise men returned home with this light; they were God’s first missionaries to the East after the birth of Christ.

Your children, upon believing and receiving Christ as Savior, are now the wise men of this generation (John 1:12).   They, like the wise men, are the stars of light that will lead many of their own generation to salvation.

Teachable Moment

In your teachable moment with your family, take your children outside on Christmas Eve for a time of reflection.   As you all look into the sky, pretend that one of the stars is the star of Bethlehem that led the wise men to the manger.   Be sure to have your Bible with you and a flashlight if necessary.   As each of your children look up at the star, read Matthew’s account about the star and the wise men.   When you are finished reading, tell your children that they are like the stars of Bethlehem, because they are light to the world that can guide their friends and neighbors to salvation (Matthew 5:14-16).

When you return home, sit down with your children in front of the tree.   Ask them how they could better lead others to Christ by being His guiding light.    Then go outside again with your children and walk around your neighborhood.  Pick a number of houses to stop and pray over.   Pray that the families in these homes will one day receive Christ as Lord. (Acts 4:31).

When you have completed your walk, challenge your children to continue to pray for these homes.   Over the years, make this a tradition at Christmas Eve, and add a little to it just as you add new ornaments to your tree each year.   Perhaps next year you can send these neighbors a Christmas card with the message of the manger.

God’s Word

Matthew 2: 1-2   1 Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying, 2  “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him.”

 Matthew 2:10-11 10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. 11 After coming into the house they saw the Child with Mary His mother; and they fell to the ground and worshiped Him. Then, opening their treasures, they presented to Himgifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

 2 Timothy2: 3-4 3 This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

 John 6: 44   “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day.

John 1: 1-4; 9 1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  2 He was in the beginning with God.  3 All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. 4  In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men.  9 There was the true Light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man.

 Matthew 5: 14-16   15  “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; 15 nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lamp stand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16  “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.

 John 1:12   But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name.

Acts 4: 31 And when they had prayed, the place where they had gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak the word of God with boldness.