Oh, star of wonder, star of night
Star with royal beauty bright
Westward leading, still proceeding
Guide us to thy perfect light
-We Three Kings
These lyrics have been running through my head as of late, all thanks to a special “star” that I read about in an article recently. The “star” is actually the alignment of the planets Jupiter and Saturn1, which can be seen today through December 26th during the evening.2 According to one article, the alignment of these two planets is very rare, having happened the last time over more than half a century ago.3 We truly have the chance to see a wonder this week worldwide. I’m praying that the skies will be clear enough here to catch a glimpse of this beautiful sight.
As I have thought about this phenomenon, I have been reminded of several passages throughout the Scriptures. The first one has been from a passage found in 1 Kings 19 in which the word of the LORD comes to Elijah in a cave and asks him what he is doing there. Elijah responds out of discouragement, explaining that he has fled the wicked Queen Jezebel, who has sworn to have him killed. According to his limited (and faulty) knowledge, all the other true prophets have been put to death, and he is the last one remaining.
After Elijah expresses these complaints to God, he is commanded to stand before the LORD on the mount, and the following events occur:
And behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind tore the mountains and broke in pieces the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire the sound of a low whisper.”1 Kings 19:11b-12
When Elijah hears the low whisper, he wraps his face in his cloak and goes to stand at the entrance of the cave, implying that Elijah understood that the LORD was in the whisper. After the devastation of the wind, earthquake, and fire, Elijah was reminded that God was as near to him as a whisper. He had not abandoned Elijah, nor would He.
This year, the world has experienced the same tragic events that Elijah experienced in that moment before the LORD. There have been winds (both tornados and hurricanes), earthquakes, and fires in addition to a plague and the political and social unrest that has ensued, and it has been difficult to sense God’s presence in any of these things. But after a year filled with tragedy, we are left with the reminder that God is still near to us through something so reminiscent of the first Christmas long ago, and with it we remember that Jesus entered this sin-filled world to ultimately become the sacrifice for our sins. As believers, He is our Emmanuel—God with us. He has not abandoned us, nor will He.
The second passage that has come to mind as I think about this special “star” is the following:
Seek the Lord while he may be found; call upon him while he is near.”Isaiah 55:6
When I think about the special “Christmas star”4 of this year, I can’t help but think of the wise men that followed the star so many years ago that ultimately led them to Jesus. As a result of their willingness to follow, they were given the privilege of worshipping the King of Kings and offering precious gifts to the One who would ultimately offer us the greatest gift of all.
The “star” of 2020 is a vivid reminder that mankind can still seek Jesus today, just as the wise men did so long ago. God can still be found, and He not only longs for us to seek Him but gives us opportunities to do so. He has, in fact, placed each of us in the optimal setting to do just that.
And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place,that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us, for“‘In him we live and move and have our being’.”Acts 17:28-28
The “Christmas star” of this month is yet another tangible expression of God’s active part in this world, and I pray that this rare, beautiful sight will inspire individuals to remember the first Christmas and to seek and find Jesus as a result*. I also pray that it will renew the hope of many and that it will provide comfort to those who mourn that God is near. He has not abandoned us this year.
If nothing else, the “Christmas star” is a good reminder to look up. So while the year draws to an end, let’s look up as we look forward to a new year.
*If you want to seek Jesus and don’t know where to start, the following website is a good place to begin: The Four Spiritual Laws-English-knowing God Personally (4laws.com).