Monday, December 23, 2019

Riffing on the Star of Bethlehem

In my last post I mentioned attending a wonderful lecture by Philip Blaxton on Cardinal Ratzinger's The Spirit of the Liturgy. I was reminded of it again when I thought of the Star of Bethlehem. Cardinal Ratzinger had spoken of something changing within the cosmos with the birth of Christ - by taking on a human nature, God had wed himself to His creation, and it was thus forever changed. The Star of Bethlehem was a sign of this change, drawing the first Gentiles to their Jewish Savior.

Now there are many different theories as to what the Star of Bethlehem. While it is certainly possible that the Magi were drawn to Judea by a supernatural light, the majority of theories involve a celestial event - from a comet, to a supernova, to a conjunction of planets. Let's assume for a moment that one of those natural theories is correct - what an awe-inspiring example of God's almighty providence!

If the "star" was a natural event such as a supernova or conjunction of planets that coincided with the birth of Christ, then it was set in motion with the Big Bang. The universe was set in motion in such a way that this "star" would be visible in the Middle East at the exact time that God would make his entry into creation. What an amazing reminder that, despite man's capacity to sin and his attempts to unravel the divine plan, none of this occurs outside of God's loving providence. Before man's Fall, God already knew His Remedy! Man has his freedom, but God also retains His - and His freedom is exercised from eternity! The angels captured it perfectly, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom he is pleased!” (Lk 2:14)

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