Tomorrow is the day Christians celebrate the arrival of the kings, but it was celebrated in most churches today. It is also the day we celebrate what is a most beloved symbol. I would think it were a symbol beloved for everybody, but last night in looking up the matter I discovered at least one group who considers the Star of Bethlehem to be otherwise. If the idea were not so preposterous, I could find myself more than a little offended. Outside of one year when I remember the star hit Joseph on the head with one of its points causing one of the kings and I believe Mary to break character and join half the congregation in laughter, the Star of Bethlehem has done no mean thing to anyone.
I should not be surprised that a few misguided people think poorly of the Star for no one really knows what it is. This it its’ beauty. You don’t have to believe it is anything in particular. It has been identified as Sirius, Halley’s Comet, a conjunction of planets, a company of angels, a supernatural occurrence, and pious fiction. Only one thing about the star is certain….it is good for “it is His star” and it leads us to Him.
All of this means that the discussion of what the star was is pointless, what is important is what the star is. The star the wise men saw is long gone…..well sort of, for like the wise men we are still being led. The star also only belonged to a particular place and time….that is a sort of too, for that place and time exists eternally. All I’m saying is the particular star of the wise men is not your star. Whatever it was, however, it brought them to the manger. With this in mind, we need to think on what brings us to the manger.
As the Epiphany pageants wind down, it becomes apparent the star is really no star at all. Whoever carried the paper mache creation with its tassels and Kindergarten painted points has left it on the chancel floor to be discarded and run back into the arms of a parent. It is then it becomes obvious. There is no star, only stars. They are different colors and sizes. Minutes before they were dressed as kings, shepherds and angels, as protective Joseph and loving Mary, but now their headdresses litter the pews and their staffs clutter the aisle to the altar. Their moms and dads were brought to the manger to see their little stars of Bethlehem. In the stars’ little minds though, they are not stars at all. The real stars of Bethlehem are those who drove them to the manger. They know these are the ones who taught them about Him, though they cannot know how much of a miracle and cause for belief they are to those who regard them as stars.
Christmas is coming to a close. We have celebrated His birth, now we must do His work. His light must become our light. It must be a light to those called father and mother as well as son or daughter as well as a light to those called friend, coworker, ally, teacher, and companion. It must also be that in being these things, we are His light to others.
It’s been more than 2000 years. The debate will carry on as to what the Star of Bethlehem “was.” That does not matter for we know what the Star of Bethlehem “is.” It has a name. It is your name and mine.
Image: Moravian Star on Wikipedia