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The Significance of a Star

Meg Chaney

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.”

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. And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.
— Matthew 2:1-2, 9-12 (NIV)

Early this morning I was out by our fireplace, watching the light flicker, enjoying the first moments of the day. As I sat, I wondered about the Wisemen, these men from the east who traveled amazingly far to worship the King of the Jews. These foreigners, who didn't even practice the Jewish faith, who may have even been kings themselves, but desired to worship this little child. Jesus' birth was largly un-recognized by his own people. Most didn't see Him as being anything out of the ordinary. All the prophets had pointed to this specific moment in time, when a child would be born of a virgin, in Bethlehem of all places, but the Jewish people ignored it. But foreign wise men saw something significant. Imagine the journey it must have been, the caravan, the amount of animals, servants, wisemen that must have been in their company. All because they saw a star. 

Who were these men of the east? We can really only speculate. We're not even sure on the number of them. Matthew Henry, in his commentary, writes the Persian Magi were their philosophers and priest. The people there wouldn't allow a new person to be king, until he had studied with the Magi. These were truly wisemen, who knew the stars. Knew them so well, that they recognized when a certain star appeared in the sky. Wouldn't you have loved to have seen that star? 

They, in their country, which was in the east, had seen an extraordinary star, such as they had not seen before; which they took to be an indication of an extraordinary person born in the land of Judea, over which land this star was seen to hover, in the nature of a comet, or a meteor rather, in the lowers regions of the air; this differed so much from any thing that was common that they concluded it to signify something uncommon
— Matthew Henry, Commentary on Matthew 2,

They saw it as something uncommon. They saw it as something worth seeking. As worth putting up with months on the road, dirt, hunger, bright sun. This one special star said something important. It was the long awaited star that proclaimed the Messiah. They saw that special message, and they focused on it, they sought it out. It's a good reminder for us as well to make the effort, to seek out Jesus. To remember the true meaning of this Christmas season. It's a celebration of the most precious gift of all. The king of all kings coming into this world. It's worthy of all of our praise, isn't it so?