One of the several events of Christmas that continue to fascinate us is the Star of Bethlehem. New information and technology have produced this year a video entitled "The Star of Bethlehem" from Stephen McEveety, Producer of "The Passion of the Christ". This video portrays the night time sky and position of stars and planets as they may have been viewed by people in 2 BC. The conclusion points to a December 25th day (estimated as there was no December 25 in 2 BC) in which spectacular alignment of certain planets and stars occurred in a one-time display of brilliance and convergence of light in the night-time heavens and the ray of light shining on a small Judean village called Bethlehem-Ephrathah. With this powerful display of celestial and cosmic proportions, the possibility of an Angel of Light remains not only as an alternative explanation of "The Star" but as a concurrent event as well so that all glory of all creation responds to the grandest event of all time--the human birth of Immanuel--God in flesh!
To compliment the recognition and honor on earth, shepherds nearby are summoned by a chorus of Angels and have only a short distance to travel to the holy stall. The Kings, Wise Men, or Magi (long time tradition depicts three because of three gifts presented) present a more complex response. When responding to King Herod upon their caravan's arrival in Jerusalem, they ask, "Where is the one who has been born King of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him." Herod probes and learns the exact time the star appeared. In fear of being deposed as king, Herod orders the slaughter of male children 2 years old and under in Bethlehem which tells us the Royal Visitors have been in travel mode for some time. Where did this elite band come from and why did they travel for months or years over hundreds or even thousands of miles to attend a newborn baby shower?
A Psalm of David, a King himself, may give us some insight: "The kings of Tarshish and of distant shores will bring tribute to him; the kings of Sheba and Seba will present him gifts. All kings will bow down to him and all nations will serve him." Psalm 72.10-11. What is significant about kings from Tarshish, Sheba, and Seba? Who are these guys? A little closer scrutiny reveals Tarshish was a "grandson" of Japeth, (Gen 10.4), Sheba was a "grandson" of Shem, (Gen 10.26), and Seba was a "grandson" of Ham, (Gen 10.7). It is widely accepted that after Noah's Ark landed, three continents were populated by these three sons of Noah and their wives. Shem went to Europe, Ham went to Africa, and Japeth went to Asia. The Kings, Wise Men, or Magi who approached King Herod, then, were direct descendants of Shem, Ham, and Japeth. Truly an amazing display of God's pinpoint accuracy in the genealogy of mankind. Within the Ark, Noah, a "savior", of sort, of earth's creation, sends out three sons to begin a new creation on the three continents of the world at that time. Within the Manger, Immanuel--the baby Jesus-the Christ child, the Savior of earth's creation, draws in three Kings from three continents representing the world and its population at that time.
Now it is complete! The heavens explode with magnificent display of light and creation above points to the Manger where the Savior lay. Angels, messengers of God, speak and sing and shout and point to the Manger where the Savior lay. Shepherds from Judea rush from the jubilee of night time song by heavenly hosts and point with staff in hand to the Manger where the Savior lay. Even creatures from stall and barnyard attend and gaze upon their creator as he lays low in a Manger. Kings from distant shores, with provisions for months of travel, follow the Star of Bethlehem and arrive on scene and point to the Manger where the Savior lay with their gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh; each gift speaking of divine events to follow. All of creation...All of creation...All of creation has bowed before the King of Kings and Lord of Lords through whom and by whom all things have been created! Truly, Psalm 2.6-7 has come to be: "I have installed my King on Zion, my holy hill (Bethlehem)..... You are my Son; today (Christmas Day) I have become your Father." This proclamation became true that blessed night over 2,000 years ago. "A Star will come out of Jacob; a Sceptor will rise out of Israel." What a holy night it was in all splendor and glory. The Star of Bethlehem leading the way until it stopped over the place where Jesus lay!
The Star of Bethlehem will also appear again. Jesus, the "Star", will appear in flaming fire, and every eye shall behold him. All of creation will see him, and every knee will bow, in heaven and on earth, and under the earth and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Phil.2.5-11). Jesus, the Lamb, will be the lamp from which this "Star" shines. "The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it." (Rev 21.24). "I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star." (Rev 22.16). O come again, Star of Bethlehem!!
Scott Johnson, El Dorado, AR 71730