One of the most prominent symbols of CHRISTmas is the star.
Matthew 2:2 says "Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him."
After the birth of Jesus, a star appeared in the east. For many years, the Jewish people had been waiting for the Messiah to come. Micah had prophesied that "out of you [Bethlehem] will come a leader who will shepherd My people Israel." (Micah 5:2) So they knew that something wonderful was going to happen in Bethlehem. Yet it was the wise men, Gentiles, who first saw the star and acknowledged that it was HIS star.
So what would make them take notice of a star? Stars shine in the sky most nights. What was so unique about this particular star?
First of all, this was not a literal star. That's quite a shocker, isn't it? How can that be?
The Greek word for "star" is "brilliance". So there was a "brilliance", shining much like a star in the sky. But notice that the star MOVES. Actual stars move, but only slightly over the course of years. Actually, when it appears, it is just due to the earth's rotation.
To guide the wise men from the east to Jerusalem and then on to Bethlehem, the star would have had to move from est to east, then north to south. Something that literal stars do not do.
Stars also do not hover, as many photographs portray the star doing as it hangs almost within reach of the roof of the stable where Jesus was born. (Another mistake, as the wise men did not come to the stable where Jesus was born. They came to his house when he was a toddler "It led them until it came and stopped above the place where the child was.....entering the house [not the stable or barn]]...they saw the child [not the baby] with His mother Mary." (Matt. 2: 9, 11) If the star had hovered as often pictured, the heat from it would have ignited the roof of the house.
So, it we conclude this was NOT a literal star, what was it?
It was the Shekinah glory, the visible manifestation of God, much like the pillar of cloud that led the Israelites through the Wilderness by day and the pillar of fire that led them by night. "Skeine`" in Greek means to tabernacle with, which means to come and go.
The Shekinah glory appears a number of times in the Bible. As mentioned above, it appeared to the Chilren of Israel several times. It also appeared to shepherds the night of Jesus birth when Luke tells that in Luke 2:9 that "behold the angel of the Lord stood before them and the GLORY OF THE LORD shone round about them".
The greatest manifestion of the Shekinah Glory from Adam to Christ, however, was not the star, nor the pillar of cloud or pillar of fire. It was Jesus Christ himself as He reflected His Father's glory.
From Christ to the end of time, WE, as believers, are to be the Shekinah glory to others around us. That is, we are reflect Christ in such a way that we are like a light in a dark place. Ephesians 1:6 tells us we are to "to the praise of His glory" on our way to Heaven. We are not to get the praise, we are to BE the praise. He alone is worthy of all praise, honor and glory!
So this CHRISTmas when you see the star portrayed in manger scenes, CHRISTmas cards or photographs, just remember that is just an illustration. The real star shines in your heart, if you are a believer. Jesus is the star that illuminates our darkness and we are to, in turn, be lights to a sin darkened world.
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