The beginning of Psalm 19 reads: “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.”
Putting emphasis upon the verbs, “declare,” “proclaim” and “display” the Psalmist is emphatic about the Creator of the universe providing decisive evidence for his existence and awesome power, for He is an awesome God and demands we look to the heavens that reveal His handiwork.
The Christmas season is upon us and 2000 years ago there was a stellar display that was planned before the beginning of the creation of the universe, the confluence of the planets Jupiter and Venus, a lunar eclipse (producing a Blood Moon) and a spectacular astronomical display to announce the birth of a prophesied messiah in the small town of Bethlehem (Micah 5:2 “But you, Bethlehem, Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.”)
I speak of the star of Bethlehem. It really existed and thanks to Kepler’s discovery of the laws of planetary motion and the advent of computers we can now view the night skies of any time in the past with absolute precision. It hasn’t been known before because most scholars depended upon a Jewish historian named Josephus and a transcription error around the 16th century that put the date of the death of King Herod off by several years. Astronomers were looking for the star in the wrong years. When that error was corrected the ancient sky over Jerusalem and Bethlehem exploded with a dazzling astronomical display clearly showing the anomaly of the confluence of Jupiter and Venus making them the brightest “star” in the night and appearing to move and stop over Bethlehem. Since stars don’t stop an explanation was in order and it was simple enough, retrograde motion gave the appearance of the “star” halting over Bethlehem, validating the biblical statement that the Magi (three wise men from the East) observed the star to stop over Bethlehem, thus the giving credence to the Christmas story of the birth of Christ. (Christ wasn’t in a manger at the time of the Magi’s visit, He was a toddler by then).
The heavens continued to reveal supernatural events as the heavens then produced a lunar eclipse with a Blood Moon at the exact day and hour of the death of Christ on the cross. The skeptic will say coincidence and ignore the evidence of the heavens even if a haystack landed on their head but an open-minded person with an inquisitive mind would do well to consider these events, along with other many infallible proofs.
I write this today not simply because it is the Christmas season and so many are lonely, depressed and discouraged but because the events surrounding the Star can give hope to so many who despair. We live in perilous times with extremely violent and tragic events occurring across the globe, not the least being in Israel today. The worst terrorist attack to ever befall that tiny nation shocked every decent person with a conscience as a result of the barbarity inflicted upon civilians as primary targets, regardless of sex, age, or infirmity. It was equally shocking to see the glee of the terrorists as recorded on their “go-cams” which they posted online for the world to see the savagery of their attack. Most shocking to me was the grotesque support for their actions in the worst displays of anti-Semitism I’ve ever witnessed in my life by westerners, especially supposedly educated people, not confined to Europe where I expect it but throughout North America, with calls to “kill the Jews” proudly displayed in mass demonstrations. The complete moral bankruptcy of our academic elites is shameful along with a media that fails to describe the attack in Israel as what it was: war crimes and crimes against humanity as no cause ever justifies the deliberate targeting of civilians for killing, just for the sake of killing civilians.
Military lawyers will tell you that civilian deaths in military operations must be limited to “military necessity” with no other means of destroying a military target available without risking collateral civilian deaths. Since the inception of conflict between the various Arab groups and Jews in Palestine, the Arabs have chosen to murder civilians as their primary tactic against the Jewish people. Not simply guerilla warfare against military or diplomatic targets but deliberate murder of Jewish men, women and children as in past pogroms against Jews of Palestine (1920’s – 1930’s). This was no more evident than it was on October 7 with a display of savagery towards civilians not seen since the 19th century in our conflicts with the tribes of native-Americans.
The wars occurring today, in Israel, Ukraine or in a dozen locales will continue; some will get worse before they get better as ever since we told God we can run the world better than Him, He’s allowed us to have our way, at least for now. However, the Star that shown over Bethlehem 2000 years ago gives hope that it will not always be so and the God who made the Star has not forgotten us.