has been hi-jacked by the commercial world and even in Christian
circles the "Family" emphasis overshadows the real event
so that, even in a so called "Christian" country, a great majority of
have no idea of what or Who the event really commemorates. I believe
malaise is a result of the lack of the ring of "authenticity" to our
and that the Event is made dubious by our less than intelligent
that have become "theological baggage", casting doubt on the Biblical
anyone pausing to think for a moment, the idea of wise men being led
considerable distances by a "star" to a precise spot on earth, must
raise an eyebrow. It is more the stuff of fairy tales than Divine
fact. Nevertheless, sincere men of science, with an earnest
desire not to question their faith, have striven to find astronomical
phenomenon to explain the event. However, that line of research breaks
as we carefully examine the Biblical record and we are left still
some doubting. So, it would be in a good cause to re-examine what
fact did happen.
find that the "star" moved and was followed "... for we saw His star in
the East ... it went on before them". Matthew 2:9-11. Many eastern
peoples were astrologers and it was natural to expect a sign in the
heavens to be a signal of special significance heralding an event
of great importance. The Scripture forbids such "divining",
in Genesis we are told the stars were intended for "signs".
must ask in this case, is the sort of motion reported
usual or possible for any of the types of 'heavenly bodies' we
generally call 'stars'? Strictly, "stars" are great burning
spheres of gas of which our sun is a modest example. All such
stars, except our sun are at such vast distances that any form of
movement described by Matthew would be impossible to detect with the
planets in our solar system, large or near enough to reflect light
visible on earth can usually only be seen at night and are loosely
referred to as stars because they appear to us as spots of light.
These bodies move on precise orbits and although at times can be seen
in close proximity or conjunction and appear especially bright for a
time, their movement is continuous as ordained from The Beginning.
Other forms of heavenly bodies that can be seen from earth and move in
more random orbits relative to our solar system, are comets and
meteorites. Comets may often be seen in the sky for long periods of
time while meteorites are only seen for a few seconds as they are
usually destroyed in the earth’s atmosphere
- some big ones have landed leaving quite a dent..
none of these heavenly bodies move in such a way as to satisfy the
Biblical account surrounding the birth of the Saviour.
it would be possible to navigate by known stars, for celestial
navigation has been the art of the mariner from time immemorial.
However, more than one known reference point is essential to achieve
any sort of accuracy and it is doubtful if an area as small as a stable
could be arrived at by celestial observation.
further complicate this account, the "star" we are concerned with seems
to have waited for the wise men, while they consulted with king Herod
for what may have been a considerable time, then the star "went before
them, until ... it stood over where the Child was", giving
a positive "pin-point" location of a small insignificant building in a
2:9,10 tells us that "after they had heard the king, they went on their
way, and the star they had seen in the east went
ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10
they saw the star, they were overjoyed." The Bethlehem star is reported
have moved and stopped and moved again finally stopping so close to
as to give a pin-point location. This type of "navigation" we know from
can only be provided by a low flying object similar to a helicopter or
or a modern Global Positioning System.
we go on, let me assure you that our only purpose is to find what the
Scripture did report rather than try and defend a childish tradition,
however picturesque. Neither are we of the "chariots of the gods"
genre, seeking to explain the Creator as the creation.
believe, the Bible is the Divine revelation of God's will and purpose
for us. It is also a record of His love and grace manifest
to us that we need to properly understand if we are to become
possessors of the fullness of the treasure contained therein. As
our "Life" depends on our understanding the Way of Salvation and as God
will judge us on our obedience I suspect that contrary to what some of
the theological establishment would have us believe, God's "Message" is
in fact eminently reasonable. If God is just he would not wrap in
mystery or cast reasonable doubt upon the most important, life saving
message to mankind. Nor would He then hold us responsible to make
eternal judgements based on our confused understanding of that message.
Old Covenant Scriptures refer to Divine visitations that appear to
involve physical "vehicles" of various sorts described in
the language of the day, (pillar of cloud/fire, Elijah’s chariot,
etc.). So it is surely not unreasonable to suppose that here too we may
have some form of an "angelic scout ship". We must remember that even
record is described in the language and with figures understood by
at the time of recording the events. (What was a "chariot of fire"?) Is
not possible that the object seen to look like a star was an heavenly
or observer, sent to watch over - even protect - this tremendous
Maybe it had been in the neighbourhood before the angel appeared to
and later to Mary. It may also have carried the angelic delegation that
announced to the shepherds, the coming of the Messiah and His peace to
learn that the following of the star involve a
considerable passage of time from the fact that Herod’s murderous
reached back 2 years, "in accordance with the time he had learned from
Magi". Matthew 2:16
idea that the "Star" was, in fact, a special object and much closer to
the event than any planet, seems far more likely and consistent with
the other records we have of God's dealings and visitations with this
planet and it's inhabitants. (E.g. Elijah and Ezekiel, also maybe in
Moses’ time and even way back in Enoch's era).
am aware that this sort of speculation is of concern to some dear and
sincere folk who have been taught to veil such matters
with 'spiritual' explanations. Unfortunately, all the
end up as a matter of "private interpretation" and violate the common
of those to whom the event was revealed.
it is this desire to "spiritualise" God's word that has led us up the
theological creek on more than one occasion and the writer believes has
placed barriers and stumbling blocks in the
way of many seeking a "real" faith. It is by God's grace and the
wooing of the Holy Spirit that millions have found their Salvation in
of the confusing trappings of man's tradition.
the nativity has become shrouded in many beautiful and time hallowed
traditions, it will in no way lessen the wonder or the
purposes of God to find that the Creator can and does function within
natural structure of His creation. We too may glorify Him in the marvel
the human mind, which he created and by which we have learned to look
the wonders of the cosmos and reach out to the stars.
never before, we should not need to resort to
fairy story type "interpretations" to better understand and appreciate
this most momentous event in human history. I sometimes wonder if in
fact our human
pride has difficulty allowing for the possibility that God may draw
to us in our material universe. Therefore we would rather shroud
events in mystical or illogical interpretations.
Hawking in his book, "A Brief History of Time" suggests that some
scientific theories are based on the personal persuasion or prejudice
of their authors rather than scientific principle. (Regrettably these
theories are all too often taught in our educational institutions
as facts). In our search, I feel sure we may also find some of our
"orthodox" theology and practice has its roots outside of fact and the
Word of God.
God has become remote to many, not only by sin but by the church's
'mystifying' of His nature and substance. Maybe we try and hide
behind our theological bushes when, like Adam, we "hear the sound of
the Lord God walking in the garden..." God entering or being a
part of our physical reality is scary, even to the most devout.
There is no doubt, however, that this Event was the Event above all
others when God moved to unite Himself with His creation to bring about
the fulfilment of His promise in Eden that "the seed of the woman"
would crush the serpent's head.
the "Star" always remind us of, not only an happening
in past history but a present and personal reality of the God-Man
who obtained our redemption and brought all who believe and walk in His
back into a relationship with God. A relationship shared by Adam before
he sinned and felt the need to hide when "God walked in the garden in
cool of the day". We should remember, "the way is simple that a
may not err therein" and God's revelation is not "of private