This week, the nights are the longest and darkest of the year in what has seemed the longest and darkest year in our lives. But even as the Psalmist prayed “Give me a sign of your goodness. . .” (Psalm 86:17) It seems He has.
In a beautiful example of the heavens declaring the glory of God, last evening Jupiter and Saturn aligned in what astronomers call a “conjunction” to form what appeared to be a giant star. Though the planets were closest to each other last night, if you missed it, the celestial event can still be seen every day this week in the southwestern sky about 45 minutes after sunset in your location.
According to NASA, “It’s been nearly 400 years since the planets passed this close to each other in the sky, and nearly 800 years since the alignment of Saturn and Jupiter occurred at night . . .”
And to cite Forbes, “A ‘great conjunction’ in the year 7 BC is often thought to be the inspiration for the tale of the “Christmas Star” or “Star of Bethlehem.” This would have been the alignment of three planets, Saturn, Jupiter, and Venus.
On my mind in recent days, is a song I first learned about when I inherited one of my grandfather’s music books, Inspired Melodies. Written in 1938 by Fisher Boyce, a dairy farmer, the lyrics of “Beautiful Star of Bethlehem,” talk about how the Bethlehem Star shines on us through the shadows, how it guides us as it did the wise men, and how the star was a metaphor of the light that is Jesus. To contradict Forbes, the “Star of Bethlehem” was no tale. It was real.
And so is Jesus.
Here in what might seem “the valley of the shadow of death” for so many we know this year, Jesus is still shining and guiding.
After my mother died one October years ago, I struggled as Christmas approached. I wrote a song which I’ve sung through the years and it seems especially appropriate in 2020. The chorus is:
“Every shining Christmas, yes every blessed Christmas,
I’ll take my place with those who sing His praise.
And through tears of joy or tears of sorrow,
The bright star of Bethlehem I’ll follow,
And worship Him with all my heart once more.” ©BeverlyVarnado
So, as we gaze at the star this week, let’s allow it to remind us of Jesus. Let’s worship and praise Him, the creator of this planetary spectacle and let’s allow him to shine through us.
And despite the circumstances, may each of you have a blessed Christmas!
"The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death, a light has dawned" (Isaiah 9:17).
"We saw His star in the east and have come to worship him" (Matthew 2:2).