I am not a fan of Christmas, but as I have said before, it is a time which many focus on Christ. On the sights that you see this time of year is the star of Bethlehem. I am not going to get into the science of the star, if indeed there be such a unique event in the skies during that time, but there was a star of some sort which brought the Magi of the East to look for the birth of the King:
Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the reign of King Herod. About that time some wise men from eastern lands arrived in Jerusalem, asking,
“Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star as it rose, and we have come to worship him.”
King Herod was deeply disturbed when he heard this, as was everyone in Jerusalem. He called a meeting of the leading priests and teachers of religious law and asked, “Where is the Messiah supposed to be born?” ”
In Bethlehem in Judea,” they said, “for this is what the prophet wrote: ‘And you, O Bethlehem in the land of Judah, are not least among the ruling cities of Judah, for a ruler will come from you who will be the shepherd for my people Israel.’ ”
Then Herod called for a private meeting with the wise men, and he learned from them the time when the star first appeared. Then he told them, “Go to Bethlehem and search carefully for the child. And when you find him, come back and tell me so that I can go and worship him, too!” After this interview the wise men went their way. And the star they had seen in the east guided them to Bethlehem. It went ahead of them and stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were filled with joy! (Mat 2:1-10 NLT)
Augustine, in his second book against Fautus, says,
Christ was not born because the star was there; but the star was there because Christ was born. If there was any fate, it was in the birth, and not in the star. The word fate is derived from a word which means to speak; and since Christ is the Word of God by which all things were spoken before they were, the conjunction of stars is not the fate of Christ, but Christ is the fate of the stars. The same will that made the heavens took our earthly nature. The same power that ruled the stars laid down His life and took it again.
If it is so well thought, we may connect the star over the small town to the star prophesied by Balaam,
I see him, but not here and now. I perceive him, but far in the distant future. A star will rise from Jacob; a scepter will emerge from Israel. It will crush the foreheads of Moab’s people, cracking the skulls of the people of Sheth. (Num 24:17 NLT)
We should think, no matter the season – pretended or otherwise – what manner of star it was that called the men from the East. As well, we should think of our own call this season – we are called to come to God, a journey, no doubt that mimics the travels of the wise men. So many assume that nothing is left for us to do except to accept Christ, as He has done the work, yet, we should stand with the Magi, in that we see the star in the East. They traveled, even after Christ had come all this way, to adore Him, to praise Him, and to give of themselves to Him.
We echo John Chrysostom’s words here,
Let Marcion and Paul of Samosata then blush, who will not see what the Magi saw, those progenitors of the Church adoring God in the flesh. That He was truly in the flesh, the swaddling clothes and the stall prove; yet that they worshipped Him not as mere man, but as God, the gifts prove which it was becoming to offer to a God. Let the Jews also be ashamed, seeing the Magi coming before them, and themselves not even earnest to tread in their path.
Let us not be ashamed this season, or any other, to heed the call to worship our Lord and Saviour. Just as had those 2000 years ago, Christ has told us where He is found, if we are wise enough to search for Him.