What Is the Star of Bethlehem Really About?
More than two thousand years have passed since it was first seen in the heavens, the Star of Bethlehem continues to attract the attention of those who study the stars. A popular scene of the Christmas holiday is the image of three wise men from the East who traveled and followed the direction of this bright object in the sky that led them to Bethlehem. Matthew 2:1-2 of the King James Version Bible Translation says:
Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, saying, ‘Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.’
Many Bible scholars believed that these three sages from the East were actually astrologers who saw an astronomical event at that time that predicted the birth of a Messiah. But there are also those who believe that the “Star of Bethlehem” is just a poetic fantasy in addition to the childhood narratives that were written in the Gospel of Matthew.
It is important to note that the Star of Bethlehem has been the subject of many astronomical debates for decades. But what is the Star of Bethlehem really about? Perhaps the best that we can do at this point is to consider that there is a certain degree of possibility, and probability, with respect to the direction that the issue may take in a debate, but never a real certainty. It must be viewed and examined from all angles, after which the conclusions must be left to the people.
While various phenomena are often put forward to explain the appearance of the Star of Bethlehem, such as a supernova, a fireball, a comet, or a meteor, the search for a more compelling explanation only intensifies as we delve deeper into the topic. We can’t assume much to speculate about the Star, but if we can find enough evidence and interest, then it must have enlightened us in some way.
The Bible did not provide us with enough details about the identity of the three wise men, we do not know enough about the Star, and we do not know exactly when Christ was born. But that’s why we have to keep looking, for us to find out.
There’s a popular theory in astronomy called “planetary conjunctions”. These conjunctions, apparently near-approaches of two or more planets, stars, or other celestial objects, occurred near the proposed date of Christ’s birth. This particular event that occurred in the heavens at that time may have been viewed by the three sages or astrologers of that time as unusual for astronomical and astrological reasons, prompting them to follow its direction wherever it leads.
Still, it’s just a theory. But the Star of Bethlehem is a subject worthy of study even if, at some point, it lacks conclusive astronomical certainty. Then there’s this supernatural explanation that we must also consider. That the Star of Bethlehem appearing in our skies more than two thousand years ago is something that goes beyond scientific understanding or the laws of nature.
We can’t rule out the supernatural. If the Star of Bethlehem is an observable event that needs legitimate scientific research, regardless of its origins, having to keep an open mind about all of these things also helps. And if it’s supernatural, we can simply ignore the scientific explanations.