Tag Archives: Star of Christmas

The Star of Christmas

January 5, 2018


Christmas StarThe star is an important Christmas symbol. It is traditional to crown the top branch of the Christmas tree with a star. Star-shaped ornaments are common. Some manger scenes have a star on or above the roof of the stable.

The Christmas star is mentioned in Matthew’s Infancy Narrative. A star appeared in the night sky when Jesus was born, and it was seen in faraway Persia by a number of magi, highly esteemed scholars (Mt 2:2,7). It was a common ancient belief that when a great ruler was born, a new star would appear. When the Christmas star appeared the magi were convinced that a birth of epic proportions had taken place, they rejoiced at its sight, and they decided to follow the star wherever it went, and it finally stopped over the place where Jesus was (Mt 2:9,10).

The usual Christmas star has five points. This star, when it has a single point up, two to the side, and two pointed down, roughly resembles the limbs of a human person. The five-pointed star is also the Star of Balaam. In the Fourth Oracle of Balaam, he predicted that “a star shall advance from Jacob” (Nm 24:17), which is a metaphorical way to say that one of Jacob’s descendants would be a great king, and we believe that Jesus is both the star and the king. The five-pointed star also represents Jesus, the morning star (Rv 22:16).

The light of the star pierced the darkness of the night sky. It was beaming bright. A radiant star is a beautiful symbol for Jesus who is the true light that was coming into the world (Jn 1:9; 12:46). He is the light of the world (Jn 8:12), the light that shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not overcome it (Jn 1:5).

When the Christmas star appeared, it was one of countless stars that dotted the night sky, but it shined more brightly than the rest. The magi could tell the difference between the star of Jesus and the other stars, and they chose to follow his star rather than any of the lesser ones.

We are confronted with the same dilemma. There are many bright lights competing for our attention. There are movie stars, dancing stars, and star athletes. There are pulsating lights on the front of theater marquees, search lights above car dealerships, flood lights on storefronts, and glittering lights in front of casinos and night clubs. Of all these lights, the Christmas star and its light shine more brightly than the rest. The lesser stars are competing for our attention, but we must not be misled. If we follow the example of the magi, we will choose the Christmas star over all other stars, and we will follow Jesus who is our Light.

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