First, an Author’s Reception will be held at the Tamarack Ligrary in Lakeview, MI, January 12, 2019 at 11:00. Come join the discussion.
Star of Wonder – Joe Tilton
Christmas is told in story form, and is repeated every year to allow young children to begin understandings of the Event. What a wonderful tradition.
There are stories that relay history while others are literature. Considering the Christmas Story from the perspective of magnificent meanings will help some adults see this celebrated Event “with the lights on,” so to speak. Here are some meanings you may not have considered.
The Star of Bethlehem is a favorite, showing anticipation of something significant in humanity’s understanding of life. This “sign” from a higher plain is an invitation to “come and see” something spectacular in its infancy. The words “Star” and “Bethlehem” are loaded with background information to give us a greater grasp of the story’s meaning and purpose.
This Star, according to Matthew, was in the East. But wait, if the star was in the east and Bethlehem was west of them, how did something in the eastern sky take them west? Was the Star was behind them? Was it a “light in the sky?” Perhaps a UFO was up there for two years; the length of their trip by camel. Was it an astrological event as some claim? If so, why did the Jews not see something so obvious in the sky? There was no light pollution those days, and the sky was a night-time canvas of wonderment.
We read in Matthew 2:2, a quote by one of the Wise Men, “We have seen His star in the East, and we have come to worship Him.” Hmm, he didn’t say, “…his star in the west.” What’s going on? Is Matthew’s account wrong or is there a mistranslation? No.
Throughout scripture keys are missing to so much knowledge, including; “East,” to the ancient cultures, meant what is inside a person. “West” means what is outside us. The dividing or decision line was represented by the Jordan River. Too, east and west require a decision. You can walk west all your life and never go east without a decision to turn around. North and south are different. Walk north long enough and eventually you will, without a decision to turn around, be going south.
Now, apply what the ancients understood to this Story. The Wise Men were following their faith and expectations of a “light” shining brightly in their hearts, within them. We know there is more to life than the physical realm. The Story names anyone seeking Truth as “wise.” Perhaps the “Star in the East” has nothing to do with a light in the night sky, but the light that burns for truth within each of us.
Bethlehem is hugely significant in this Story. As most cities have a reputation influenced by industry in their midst, so did Bethlehem. That’s where the bread-making industry was during the time of Christ. The City was in the middle of the wheat-growing region of Israel and was significant in supplying most of the Nation with food. How does bread relate to Messiah? John 6:35 reads, “I am the living God, The Bread of Life. Whoever comes to me shall not hunger and whoever trusts in me shall never thirst.” Search Scripture and you will find that bread is always a symbol of truth and truth is critical to life. Remember His comment at the Last Supper, “This is my body broken for you,” as he broke the bread? His claim, “I am the Truth” (John 16) is also important to remember.
It was understood by the Wise Men that Bethlehem then and now means, “Place (house) of Bread,” the symbol of truth; precisely what the travelers were seeking.
The Wise Men also went to Jerusalem first. Why? The City’s name means “Place of Peace.” The “Prince of Peace” sould reside there, but mankind refuses peace for personal gain and power, something true since Adam. Later, Christ entered Jerusalem, but man wanted nothing to do with Truth and the killed him.
If we follow the light in our souls, it always leads us to the place of truth.
As written in my book Apocalypse, The Ultimate Battle for the Soul of Humanity, “Truth is brutal; grace allows us to accept it.” Grace afforded humanity comes in the form of a newborn. There’s nothing brutal about an infant. His arrival this way means His truth grows on us as it/He matures. Too, arrival of an infant in a family calls us together in support and love while the child “grows on us” and becomes family. Such is the way truth is best applied. He is the Personification of Truth, the Star of our lives.
An observation of modern society indicates deniers of truth are the same ones wanting to suppress Christmas. That’s nothing new; Herod did the same thing by trying to wipe out this Truth that was destined to grow on his subjects.
Oh, there’s more to understanding the mysticism of the Christmas Story, and it’s so convenient to keep it in the infant stage and avoid maturity. Yet for we adults, the Story is much more applicable to our lives if we climb the levels of understanding.
May you hear “O Little Town of Bethlehem” a bit differently now.
Every Christmas, accepted for what it truly means, is—a Merry Christmas.