Poor Donald Trump. Not everybody is wishing him a Merry Christmas. Trump came out with his very own line of shirts and ties that are being sold exclusively at Macy’s this Christmas. There was just one little marketing hiccup. You see, for the last couple of years The Donald has been railing against unfair Chinese competition and the fact that US jobs have flooded offshore. He actually makes a reasonable point if you look at the data. Where things get a little dicey for the flamboyant and out spoken billionaire is that his new fashion line is being made in… you guessed it… in China! Consequently, an online petition has surfaced to try to force Macy’s to Dump Trump. So far 680,000 people like the idea and have signed the petition.
Most of you know that I am a huge Donald Trump fan. I supported him in his run for the Presidency. Read Here If it were not for buffoons like Trump, amateur comedians like me would have no material at all. If Macy’s dumps trump, I doubt his fortune will be in much jeopardy… but they would have to take down the Donald Trump Christmas tree.
Of course this blog is not about Trump at all, but about a real Star… the one born 2000 years ago in Bethlehem. In the gospel of Matthew there is a fascinating narrative about the wisemen (Magi) from the Orient. It says they followed a star, that they had seen in the East, looking for the new born King of the Jews. When they got to Bethlehem, it states that the star they had been following stood still over the place where the child was laying. What are we to make of this celestial sign? With the advancements in astronomy there most be a way to figure out if this happened and what it was that they saw. Astronomer Michael Molnaractually has written an entire book on the subject called, The Star of Bethlehem: The Legacy of the Magi. His research is nothing short of fascinating. His search began when he first purchased an ancient Roman coin for $50 that was in circulation at the time of Christ. The coin showed a ram looking over its shoulder to a luminous star.
After buying the coin Molnar began to try to unravel the meaning. With his knowledge of astronomy and a keen interest in ancient astrology, Molnar knew that all of the constellations of stars have names and that each one of them was assigned to one of the ancient peoples. The Ram is the constellation of Aries and was considered to represent the Jews. The second part of the mystery was the star that appeared with the ram. In 6 BC an extraordinary event took place called the occultation of Venus, and it happened in the constellation of Aries. This is when the planet Venus becomes eclipsed by the moon and ends up shining particularly brightly. In ancient times people thought Venus was a star not a planet as they had no knowledge of such things. It was considered the Royal star as it is the brightest celestial object seen from earth. To the Magi, who were likely astrologers, the star illuminating brightly meant a new king was born. The fact that it appeared in Aries was the reason that they were looking for a king born to the Jews.
After the wisemen visited Herod, inquiring as to where the king was expected to be born, the star appeared again. This time standing still over the place where the Child was. This seems problematic in that celestial objects cannot stand still (outside of a miracle like in the book of Joshua where the sun stood still) as the earth is in constant rotation. Molnar discovered that the occultation of Venus happened twice in 6 BC. The second time was in December and this time the rotation of the earth fell in sync with the orbiting of Venus thus making it look like the ‘star’ was standing still for the period of about one week.
The last piece if the puzzle is the year it all happened. Most people believe Jesus was born in zero BC. Turns out that Dionysius Exiguus the Roman Catholic monk who set the dates of the Roman calendar in AD 527 got it wrong. King Herod died in 4 BC. Which would mean that Jesus, who spent 2 years in Egypt until Herod’s death, would have to have been born in 6 BC. Booyah!
Whether you can buy Molnar’s explanation or not (it is head and shoulders above any other theory), the fact remains the birth of Christ is the single most significant event in history. Without it, we would all still be dead in our sins and we would be on a one way ticket to Hell. For God so loved the world that He sent his only beloved Son, that whoever would believe in Him would not perish but have eternal life. He, without equal, is the greatest Christmas gift of all time. As we get caught up in the festivities of the holidays, let’s not forget that Jesus is the reason for the season and wise men still seek Him today.
Merry Christmas everyone.