Christmas Star?

It will be cool to see Jupiter and Saturn come into such close conjunction tonight. However, contrary to internet clickbait, this has nothing alt all to do with any ‘Christmas Star’.

In 3 BCE, on what we call Sept 11, Jupiter (the King Planet) came into close conjunction with Regulas (the King Star), in the western sky, at the feet of the Leo Constellation (the symbol of south Israel), on Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year). Interesting? Perhaps. Then, nine months and six days later (June 17, 2 BCE), such a pregnant time frame, and still in the western sky, Jupiter came into even closer conjunction with Venus (the Mother Planet), which was the brightest ‘star’ in the world for about 70 years. Interesting? Kinda. Go out another little while, until Dec 25, and the same Jupiter happens be in full retrograde – it appears to stop moving in one direction, before it starts going another direction, as all planets do, because they are orbiting at different rates than Earth – now in the southern sky. From Jerusalem, that would look like Jupiter was motionless, directly above Bethlehem. Interesting? You have my attention…

Does any of that mean that Jesus was born on any of those dates? Not necessarily at all, but it is very possible that folks in that time thought the sky was telling them something about a Jewish King being born in Bethlehem, which matches up precisely with 700 year old prophecy (Micah 5), for what that’s worth.

So, the Christmas Star was an actual astronomical thing, which we can see very precisely on software now, regardless of faith commitments; and it was a thing that fit into an astronomical story, which, again, we can play out very precisely on software, regardless of what you believe about Jesus or God. And all of that fit within already established religious symbols and writings, which probably caused as much skepticism then, as some of you have now.

If that makes you in awe of God’s design of it all, awesome. If not, ok, other things might do that, or not; that’s faith we can’t replicate in the sky or on software.

If tonight’s conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn makes you in awe of the universe’s beauty, awesome. If not, ok; I hope something else does. But to be sure, tonight’s cool event, as cool and seasonal and planetary conjuctive as it is, does not align with anything about Christmas, just with the everyday wonder of creation itself. Let’s celebrate that, rather than the fake news.




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