The true star of Christmas

Photo by Min An on

The star of Bethlehem dominates some carols and many nativity plays.  I remember the nativities I was involved in at school often involving the three kings (let’s not get into that one) following a moving star all the way from the Orient (again, something for another day) to Jerusalem and then on to Bethlehem.

Have another look at the account in Matthew 2.  You’ll see that in fact the wise-men are not said to be following the star all the way from the East. At some point, they’ve seen it there. They know that it symbolises the arrival of a King in Judea and so they head to Jerusalem where they expect to find the King. Incidentally, this prevents us thinking that God/The Star mislead them. They see the star again after meeting Herod and are overjoyed as it directs them to Bethlehem.  However, this dominant character of Christmas just gets two little mentions, one in verse 1 and the other in verses 9-10.

It’s fascinating that in our Christmas traditions, we put the focus heavily on wisemen, shepherds and the star, things and people incidental to the story.  Of course we add in things not even mentioned such as stables, innkeepers, camels and donkeys.

The risk is that our attention is distracted away from the true star of the story, the one who belongs centre stage, Jesus the saviour.

%d bloggers like this: