Some people are great at journaling. I am not. There have been important events in my life that I wish I had recorded. Maybe I did not realize the significance at the time, then later was asked what day it occurred, only to have a vague memory of the details. Perhaps, I knew it was important and meant to record specifics, then didn't. Sometimes I made a good record, but now I can't find the documentation! An example is baby milestones...When did my son take his first step, or when did his first tooth emerge? I had great calendars of "firsts" for my oldest two sons, but by the time the third and fourth arrived, I was less diligent in recording such occasions. What I have decided is the exact date is not as important as the fact that the event occurred. All of my sons run well, play sports and do so with great success. Each of them have nice teeth, and they use them on a regular basis! The truth is, I pay attention to the things that are important to me, even if I don't write it down. We observe, study, research and participate in things that are important to us.
After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born. “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written: “ ‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.’ ” Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.” After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. ” Matthew 2:1-11 NIV
We don't know the exact date of Christ's birth, when the star appeared or when the wise men arrived in Bethlehem, but we know they did. It is presumed the magi arrived more than a year after Christ's birth since the word "child" is used to describe Him. These wise men from the east, were scholars of Scripture. They may have been Hebrews who remained in the diaspora following Israel and Judah's captivity. Whoever they were, they were knowledgeable, watchful men who studied God's Word, believed and acted.
This is what the LORD says, he who appoints the sun to shine by day, who decrees the moon and stars to shine by night, who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar— the LORD Almighty is his name: “Only if these decrees vanish from my sight,” declares the LORD, “will Israel ever cease being a nation before me.” This is what the LORD says: “Only if the heavens above can be measured and the foundations of the earth below be searched out will I reject all the descendants of Israel because of all they have done,” declares the LORD. Jeremiah 31:35-37 NIV
Several years ago I heard a Christian astronomer present his research on the Bethlehem Star. He had used modern computer simulations to determine how and where the "star" would have come from. He determined that during the normal course of the planets' rotations, Jupiter and Venus performed a dance within the constellations of Leo and Virgo in such an unique way that the magi determined a new Jewish king had been born to a virgin as Scriptures had foretold. The "star's" movements were over an extended period of time, seemingly stopping then restarting, allowing the magi to track its movement which directed their travels to Bethlehem. All this celestial movement may have coincided with Jewish celebrations, such as Rosh Hashanah, that may have further demonstrated the significance of the events.
The research on the Star of Bethlehem is fascinating to me because it demonstrates the perfection in the details surrounding Christ's arrival. Science brings evidence to what we have believed is true. Since there is no documentation providing specific dates and times, we utilize modern technology to give insights and scenarios opening our eyes to marvelous possibilities.
And God said, “Let there be lights in the vault of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark sacred times, and days and years, and let them be lights in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth.” And it was so.... And there was evening, and there was morning—the fourth day. Genesis 1:14-15, 19 NIV
Creator God Almighty, set stars and planets in motion during creation. Man's sinful fall, Abraham's faithfulness, creating a nation holy to Himself, it's rebellion, captivity, and repentance all moved along a path orchestrated by the LORD Himself to redeem humanity for His sake. At just the right time an oppressive government ruled over the Jews, a virgin found favor and Jupiter moved about its path announcing to all who were watching a King has been born in Bethlehem.
As we enter 2019, know Your Abba Father God has a plan for you. He knows the obstacles that you will encounter. He has already equipped you to successful overcome each one. Are you watching, listening, studying so you will recognize the signs? Perhaps you are like Herod and much of the world who was going about their tasks and didn't notice the birth announcement placed strategically in the sky for all who were watchful. I pray the beginning of this new year will entice you to find a quiet space, slow your pace and seek to observe what the LORD desires to teach you. Resolve to be watchful. For whatever journey our LORD leads you on, it will be a great adventure. Be like the magi: study, believe and act. Every detail will fall into place.
Holy Creator Almighty, You have fashioned the heavens, set their courses and ordained their paths. You are not surprised by the events in our life because time is fixed for You. This day is as it was when you separated light and darkness, and You are the same today as You will be tomorrow when our Savior returns in His glory. Please forgive our short sightedness from today, and help us to begin anew tomorrow. May this coming year bring You glory in all we say and do. Please draw us to Yourself so we may know You, understand Your words provided through Scripture, and be alert to Your plans for our lives. May we be a blessing. Amen