According to Matthew, a star appeared telling the Magi of the East that a new King of the Jews had been born (Matthew 2:1-2). After they arrived in Jerusalem, a star then led the group to Bethlehem where they were able to bring gifts and worship the newly born Jesus (Matthew 2:9-11).
Some suggest, we may be witnessing the same celestial phenomena that the magi saw on Dec. 20-21, 2020, when the planet Jupiter will align in front of Saturn producing a significantly brighter light in the night sky.
Though the two planets align every 20 or so years, this will the closest alignment that we have seen in nearly 800 years, making this conjunction appear even brighter.
Though this may be the Christmas star, some believe that the star the magi saw was an even rarer and brighter conjunction of Venus, Jupiter and Saturn or possibly a comet.
The Blaze explains:
For this first time since the Middle Ages people on Earth can see what resembles the Christmas star seen by shepherds on the night of Christ’s birth. The “bright point of light” is actually the result of the close proximity between the planets Jupiter and Saturn that will take place on the week of December 20.
The planets aren’t really as close as they look, according to the Forbes magazine report on the phenomenon:
In reality, of course, they won’t be close at all. Think about the distance from the Earth to the Sun. That’s what astronomers call an astronomical unit (au), and it’s how they measure distances in the vastness of the Solar System. Jupiter is 5 au from us. Saturn is 10 au.
These two planets aligned in the Solar System a few weeks ago, but on December 21 they’ll appear aligned to us on Earth. Our line of sight is different because we’re orbiting quickly around the Sun.
“Alignments between these two planets are rather rare, occurring once every 20 years or so, but this conjunction is exceptionally rare because of how close the planets will appear to be to one another,” said Patrick Hartigan, astronomer at Rice University. “You’d have to go all the way back to just before dawn on March 4, 1226, to see a closer alignment between these objects visible in the night sky.”
Personally, I have no problem with this. The bright star may have been a rare conjunction of planets, but I have also wondered if the star that guided the Magi to Bethlehem was actually an angel. Throughout the Bible, we have several references to angels being referred to as stars (Revelation 12:4; Job 38:7; Judges 5:20).
And we know there was a significant amount of angelic activity surrounding Christ’s conception and birth:
- An angel spoke to Mary about Jesus (Luke 1: 26-38).
- Zechariah was told by an angel that his wife would give birth to John the Baptist who would pave the wave for Christ (Luke 1:8-20).
- In a dream, an angel told Joseph to be the father of Jesus (Matthew 1:23-24).
- An angel appeared to a group of shepherds telling them about the birth of Christ (Luke 2:8-12).
- Then there was also an angelic choir. Though they were singing, the word host actually refers to an army (Luke 2:13-14).
- In a dream an angel warned Joseph to flee to Egypt (Matthew 2:13).
- After Herod had died, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph telling him to return to Israel (Matthew 2:19-20).