“For we have seen his Star in the East, and have come to worship him.” (The Gospel According to Matthew)
Knowing that Herod the Great died in 4BC, having attempted to eliminate all the boys in Bethlehem up to two years of age, simple math indicates Jesus was likely born around 6BC. In his generally fine work, “Killing Jesus” Bill O’Reilly endorses a theory first put forth by Origen in 248AD, that the Star of Bethlehem was a comet recorded by the Chinese in 5BC.
This is very possible, but I don’t subscribe to that theory.
In the Gospel account, Herod and his minions seem singularly unaware of the stellar event that drew the Wise Men — Zoroastrian astronomers from Persia. Therefore, a comet, that would have been noticed by everyone, appears less likely. Not to mention, comets were often viewed as bad omens, not signs portending good.
On the other hand, a Babylonian clay tablet from 7BC records another nighttime event that may explain the Magi’s response and Herod’s blindness. You see, from the year the tablet is dated, into 6BC, when Jesus was likely born, a triple conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn transpired. This rare movement of the royal planet associated with Yahweh and the ringed orb called “The Star of the Messiah” occurred in the constellation Pisces, known as “The House of the Hebrews”.
Thus, in the language of the Wise Men, this astral dance might well have been the grand invitation to see the One born as the King of the Jews!
Herod might easily miss the significance of this movement taking place over a period of months. Yet, to the Gentiles who always interpreted the sky with great precision, a 13 billion year old engraved invitation to come see the Christ was perceived, and their 500 mile journey commenced.
This too is a theory one may accept or reject, but what is beyond dispute is that God will use any language and custom necessary to call all people home to Christ.
Even now, he is calling you.
In this season of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, God is beckoning all of us past the hysteria and the materialism to a simple Manger. If we have already found Jesus on our journey, then we are blessed to be placed on the Divine welcoming committee, sent to reach out and bring everyone to their Savior, Who is Christ the Lord.