By Glen S. Ramos
MANILA — Here is a once in a lifetime event that will surely lighten up not just the Christmas season but our spirit as well amid a depressing year due to the worldwide pandemic and extreme disasters that hit the country.
We need to have something that will enliven and bring us hope for the coming new year.
Starting December 21, 2020, we will be witnessing a fascinating phenomenon that will light the sky brightly. Many considered it to be the Star of Bethlehem or better known as the Christmas Star!
But is it really the one that shone its light when Christ was born? And led the way for the three kings to His manger?
Are there any possible astronomical explanations? Is it a natural phenomenon?
The only verse in the Bible where a star was mentioned is on the Gospel of Matthew in the New Testament (Matt 2:2, 7-10, King James Version). If we based the literal truth on the scripture then the verse already solves the question.
The Star of Bethlehem is not a natural phenomenon because no star can really move and shine its rays to the wise men just to light their way and lead them to their destination on a very dark night thousands of years ago.
The use of astronomy might deem useful and more significant to prove the star’s existence but no one is really sure where Christ was born. Due to an error in calculation by a church cleric, His birth was thought to be four years later that it was supposed to be.
We know it today as no later than 4 B.C. or it could be earlier than that. And it surely was not December 25. The Bible only left us one which says that He was born when shepherds were out in the field “keeping watch over their flock by night” (Luke 2:8). This event happens only in spring time when lambs give birth. Which brings us likely that He was born in the spring between 7 and 4 B.C.
Another possibility to be considered is that the Christmas Star was a supernova, which is a large explosion that takes place at the end of a star’s life cycle and was recorded by the Chinese in the spring of 5 B.C where the spectacle said to last for two months.
But then, its position in the constellation Capricornus does not seemed to have “led” the wise men in a manner implied in the Bible.
For astronomers, the star was a planet and it is called Jupiter. To be more precise, it is the conjunction or close meeting of Jupiter with two other planets, Saturn and Mars. They believed that a series of such conjunctions occurred between 5 and 6 B.C., occurring in the constellation Pisces.
This alignment of the planets usually happens every 20 years but not always in the month of December and it’s been 800 years since the celestial bodies were this close with each other.
The two largest planets, Jupiter and Saturn will be at a vantage point that will look as they are touching each other which will create a radiant point of light that’s being called as the Christmas Star, or Star of Bethlehem.
And this will happen on December 21 which also marks the winter solstice or the longest night of the year.
So, unless an indisputable archaeological discovery is found to settle the question once and for all, the mystery of the Christmas Star will remain in the realm of faith.
Science unable to explain it, history propounds no clear record and religion has only an untestable miraculous apparition.
But with all the disagreement on the origin and nature of the star, all concurs on the message the Christmas star proclaimed: “… peace on earth, good will to men.” (Luke 2:14).
Sine qua non, let us just enjoy the heavenly spectacle and be happy to witness the event as it occurred in our lifetime.
So better prepare and find yourself a nice telescope for a nearer view or better yet record it your cellphone for posterity. (AI/FC/MTVN)