Bethlehem Stars

I’ve always been fascinated with the story of the star that hung over the birthplace of Jesus. To be honest, I’m more intrigued by all of the details; I don’t understand than I am the actual star. Have you ever thought about it?

How does a star suddenly appear? Some have speculated that instead of a star, it was a “wandering star,” a title given to planets back in ancient times. The reason this start suddenly appeared, is that it was the combination of multiple planets, overlapping from our earthly perspective, which made it especially bright. Wise men in these ancient times often watched the star for answers from the gods, and it seems these wise men were doing the same. The planets that overlapped during these years  were Mars, Jupiter and Saturn (approx. 6 BC) or Venus and Jupiter (approx. 1 BC). Many stories have been concocted based on the names and stories of these planets that would maybe have spoken the story of a newborn king to the wise men, stories that do not have space in today’s article.

But how does a star become something you can follow? The best answer I’ve heard for this is that this “star” would move to the west, so the wise men would move with it. Then it would move to the south so they would change their direction also. Eventually, their cosmic map would lead them to Israel where they asked where the “king” had been borne. The chief priests and scribes gave them the answer of Bethlehem (cf. Matthew 2.1-8).

Yet, this still doesn’t answer the question of how a star could lead them directly to the home of Jesus. The Scriptures say the star “went on before them until it came and stood over where the Child was” (Matthew 2.9). These wise men truly must have been experts at measuring the movements of the stars.

While all of these details are hard to understand, what is clear is that the star made it possible for them to find Jesus. This leads me to the point of this article.

We are called to be Bethlehem stars. We are called to lead people to Jesus, to help them recognize Him as Lord, and to fall at His feet and worship. This is what we often call evangelism. We are told to be of such character that when people see us and the things we do, they will glorify God in Heaven (Matt 5.16). We are told to “be perfect,” just like God is perfect (Matt 5.48). In context, this was commanded in our relationships with the world, including turning the other cheek, gifting the shirt off our back, and going the extra mile. We are to show the world just how kind, generous, and loving is the character of the God we emulate. We are told to share the Gospel message with the world (Matt 28.19). There is no caveat or exception. The world which so desperately needs God and His good news is to be given that Gospel. Through all of this, we point people to Jesus.

Like the star, we are called to shine a light in the darkness of this world. “Do all things without grumbling or questioning, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world” (Phil 2.14-15). We are the light set on a hill, that shouldn’t be covered up but displayed for the glory of God. We are stars that lead people to Christ.