We will celebrate Epiphany Sunday
January 8, 2017, 10am
It is one of the most spectacular aspects of the Christmas Story. The Star. It has puzzled scholars for centuries. Some have skeptically dismissed it as pure myth, others look for a historical and astronomical explanation. Ancient historians used astronomical phenomena to interpret the events of their lives and to predict the future. In those days, free of our modern artificial illumination, the night sky must have been tremendously impressive.
One of the astronomical possibilities is a planetary conjunction. The planets Jupiter and Saturn come into conjunction every 805 years, with Mars joining a year later. Astronomers have calculated that this conjunction took place in 7 BC and Jupiter and Saturn traveled together closely for ten months, being conjoined in May, September, and December of that year. Mars joined the configuration in February, 6 BC. Grouped in this manner, it could have appeared as one very large, bright star.
To ancient astronomers, Jupiter was the King’s Planet, representing the highest God and ruler of the universe; Saturn was deemed the shield and defender of Palestine; and the Pisces constellation was considered to represent epochal events. So, Jupiter coming together with Saturn in The Sign of the Fishes (Pisces), would have indicated to the ancients that a divine ruler would appear in Palestine. The Magi would likely have shared the astrological lore of the region and, thus, the appearance to them of ‘the star’ would explain why they came seeking the “King of the Jews.”
Whatever the actual truth of the star, one thing is certain. Figuratively speaking, the star has never disappeared. In clay, crystal, cardboard, plastic, tinsel, glass, paper, and in metals and stones, it has endured as the most familiar symbol of the hope and the promise of that first Christmas.
Epiphany is the celebration of the arrival in Bethlehem of the Three Wise Men from the East. They followed the star of the newborn king and brought gifts to the Baby Jesus. Today, many Christian churches have adopted a customer of giving Star Gifts on Epiphany Sunday to commemorate that event. The Star Gift is a paper star inscribed with a “gift” for you for the coming year. Throughout the New Year, as you view your star gift, take time to meditate on its meaning in your life and remember the light that came into this world over 2000 years ago with God’s precious gift of His son, Jesus Christ.
Can’t make it to our Epiphany Celebration?
Click Here! We have a Virtual Star for you!