A FEW YEARS AGO, Charisma magazine assigned me to work on an article focusing on one of the most notable phenomena that surrounded the birth of Christ — the Bethlehem Star.
This star is the most esteemed celestial decoration which sits in a place of honor on top of decorated Christmas trees around the world, yet mention of it is confined to only four verses of the Bible.
So, what was it about that light that led a group of Magi, or “wise men,” to pursue a face-to-face encounter with the Christ child — and so powerful to compel this group of Gentiles to kneel in worship to the “King of the Jews”?
I had the privilege to speak with Answers in Genesis astronomer Danny Faulkner, who discussed the science and theories behind the star and its origins. Falkner explained that in biblical times, in virtually all languages, a star would be defined as a point of bright light in the night sky.
“The Bible does not specifically say that this bright light was a natural phenomenon. Of course, we know that God uses natural law to accomplish His will. In fact, a biblical definition of natural law is the way that God normally upholds the universe — the divinely orchestrated blueprint to accomplish His will. But we can’t forget that God is also not bound by the laws He created.”
According to Faulkner It’s quite possible that the phenomenon known as the Bethlehem star is likened to the Shekinah glory, a visible manifestation of God’s presence that is repeatedly witnessed in the biblical text.
“For every miraculous account in Scripture, like the Pillar of Fire that led the Israelites to the Promise Land, there are realities in play that science simply cannot explain. The truth is science is a lot of research to prove a theory and theory is naturally tied to personal interpretation and opinion.”
However, the conclusion I came to at the end of my weeks of research and interviews had little to do with what the star was, but rather what it meant for them. Does the Bethlehem star connect in some way to Christ’s mandate to His followers?
For me, the star led to a deeper understanding of my favorite Scripture. “Those who are wise will shine as bright as the sky, and those who lead many to righteousness will shine like the stars forever” (Daniel 12:3, NLT).
In a sense, we are likened to the Bethlehem star; we are a visible manifestation of God’s presence. And every day we are called to rise, to light the way so others may be guided to kneel at the foot of our Savior.
I pray that this season inspires you to walk in everything God has called you to be, carrying the message that surpasses the glitter on top of the Christmas tree.
May the Blessed Hope of our soon-and-coming King ignite our souls to transform the landscape of heaven for eternity!