“Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising and have come to pay him homage.” Matthew 2:2
Yes, it’s December. Yes, it’s nearly Christmas. And yes, it is the end of a really strange year. We have been isolated, unable to gather with friends or family. And yet, we have been together is spirit – one with our Lord.
As we near the end of this year, I’ve been blessed to visit with many of you (and will continue to do so) for a few minutes at your front door. In those few minutes we have shared joys, memories of happy, sometimes long-ago holiday gatherings, and I’ve encouraged each of us to remember them fondly and to look forward to more warm, loving family gatherings in the future.
Having not actually seen many of you since early this year, I am amazed at how children have grown. Yes, they are getting bigger. I’m encouraged by their growth and resilience during these times and thank you – Moms and Dads – for strengthening them. You are their heroes , and mine.
For your patience and all the trials of this year, we can now look forward to a special treat. In a few days we will be able to see what has come to be called the Bethlehem Star or Christmas Star. Two thousand years ago motivated and led by what has been called the “star in the east,” three wise men traveled to Jerusalem and told King Herod the prophecy that a new ruler of the people of Israel had been fulfilled. There was hope for God’s people. Some astronomers believe this phenomenon was a conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn or Jupiter and Venus. This year the Christmas Star (the closest visible conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn in 800 years) will be visible between December 16th and Christmas Day and can be found above the southwest horizon near the moon just after sunset. On December 21st, the winter solstice the two planets will look like a single star.
As we look to the stars, as we watch snowflakes, as we greet each new day, let us give thanks to our God for the gift of Christmas – the gift of a baby in the manger – the gift of life, life eternal for you and for me. Let us give thanks! Let us stay safe. And as we end this strange year let us have a safe and happy Christmas.
Blessings, love and good wishes for the season.
“There is hope for your future, says the Lord.” Jeremiah 31:17