The Star of Bethlehem
Star, (Latin: aster) was
significant in the birth of Christ, (of which we celebrate on
Christmas Day, December 25th, of each year.) The actual month or day
of Christ’s birth is not recorded but many events are noted that
took place on that special day and time in history.
The Magi, (or ‘Wise Men,’) were told by an Angel, who appeared to them in the desert, to follow a bright star in the east and they would come to the birthplace of the Jewish Messiah. They did as they were advised, and with them, took magnificent gifts for the “King of all Mankind.”
Now you ask, why did these three Persian Magi listen to the words of the Angel, and know of this One of which she spoke? Because Christ’s birth had been both prophesied by the Jewish prophet, Daniel, and the pagan prophet, Balaam. Daniel was chief court seer in the land of Persia, (modern day Iran,) and in Daniel 9:24-27 he gives a timeline for the birth of the Messiah. Balaam was a prophet who in Numbers 24:17 tells of a “Star” coming out of Jacob, (from the east.)
Why do Christians still believe in this celestial phenomenon that is described in Mathew 2:1-12?
1) Because ONLY the Magi were able to see the “Star of Bethlehem” according to biblical passages that tell of His birth.
2) The “Star” led them straight to Bethlehem, resting over the stable where baby Jesus lay in swaddling clothes.
3) Celestial bodies move from east to west ordinarily, but in the case of this brilliant star, it led them south to Bethlehem where Joseph and Mary welcomed the “Son of God.”
Now if the word Star seems not to fit in the story context of Christ’s birth, then, I beg you, what does?
What is believed by the Jews, (who denied Christ as being the Messiah) is that this Star was only a manifestation they refer to as; Shekinah Glory, which literally means: Dwelling of God or Visible presence of the Lord.
The most notable reference to Shekinah can be found in Exodus 3:21. The Shekinah was the pillar of a cloud that led the Isrealites by day, and a pillar of fire that led them by night. The Shekinah fits with visual evidence in Mathew 2:1-2 also. It could appear to an individual or the masses. During Christ’s ministry Shekinah Glory was used frequently, (e.g. Mathew 17:5, Acts 1:9.) to lead people to specific locations.
Should we then be surprised that God used this miraculous sign to lead the three Wise Men to His son’s place of birth? I say, not in the least…
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and mind, and soul, and you shall not question His miracles.
The Star of Bethlehem Christmas Traditions Written by Granny Tam.