This past week we started a series in Fusion called “Vintage Christmas.” During this series, we are taking a closer look at the events surrounding the birth of Christ and rediscovering the Christmas story. When I study the scriptures, I often find myself saying, “You can’t make this stuff up!,” and that is exactly the sentiment of this birth narrative.
In Matthew 2, we find a group of men, known as the Magi, following a “wandering star” in the sky. We don’t know a lot about the Magi, but we see from the text that they came from the east, and they saw a star in the sky that was leading to Jerusalem and eventually Bethlehem. It is likely they were a part of a Persian Priesthood from the ancestry of Daniel. They clearly believed that stars are significant, hence they made a 1000+ mile journey to Jerusalem.
Thanks to the science of astronomy, we know the positions of stars and planets all throughout history. The star that the Maji followed was actually Jupiter, known as the King Planet, and had just “crowned” the star Regulus, known as the Little King. This took place on September 11, 3 BC at the foot of the constellation Leo. Because these men were scholars of the skies, they knew that on this day something huge was taking place. Theologians believe this is the day the angel appeared to Mary and Christ was conceived by the Holy Spirit.
Interestingly, Leo is the lion constellation and Christ is from the tribe of Judah, who uses the Lion as their symbol. Could it be that God used the sky He created to write the narrative of Him crowning Christ as the new King from the tribe of Judah?
The Magi arrived in Jerusalem with three gifts: gold, frankincense, and myrrh, all typically given to a king. The calendar day that they arrive is equally significant. On this day, two planets were visible in the sky: Jupiter, the King Planet, and Venus, the brightest planet. In an event never seen before, they overlapped each other, making it appear like the brightest star in the sky. From Jerusalem, this “star” appeared to be hovering over Bethlehem. And guess what day this was… December 25, 2 BC.
We believe that Christ was born toward the end of June (and the sky writes a narrative that speaks to that date as well). The Maji were not at the manger scene like we so often see it pictured. Instead, they visited Jesus when he was around 6 months old. Thus, our Christmas is not just a celebration of His birth, but of the Maji’s acknowledgment of Jesus as Savior.
The Maji brought gifts worthy of a King. On this 25th day of December 2016 AD, what gift might you bring to Jesus?
For the full narrative of the star of Bethlehem, check-out this video.