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From the pastor....

How countlessly they congregate
O’er our tumultuous snow,
Which flows in shapes as tall as trees
When wintry winds do blow!—

As if with keenness for our fate,
Out faltering few steps on
To white rest, and a place of rest
Invisible at dawn,—

And yet with neither love nor hate,
Those stars like some snow-white
Minerva’s snow-white marble eyes
Without the gift of sight.

-Robert Frost

As we start Advent, I think of the Christmas story. What always strikes me about Christmas is the star, the narrative’s “luminary.” Raymond Brown, noted Biblical scholar, in his work “Birth of the Messiah” offers insight into this very notable player from Scripture.

Not only does Brown reference the idea from the Old Testament that great people are born under the sign of the star. He offers three possibilities for the sighting of the star at the Birth of Jesus:

1) Brown cites the great astronomer Johannes Kepler’s thought that the star was a supernova or “new star.” “A nova or supernova” involves a faint or very distant star in which an explosion takes place so that for a few weeks or months it gives out a great deal of light, sometimes to the point of being visible in the daytime…”(Brown, p.171)

2) Brown continues that it is perhaps a comet. “Comets move in elliptical patterns around the sun. In the distant part of their orbit they cannot be seen from earth; but when they come close to the sun and to the earth, they can be striking;…”(Ibid., p.171)

3) Thirdly, Brown suggests “a planetary conjuction.” “Jupiter and Saturn are the slowest of the visible planets in their orbits around the sun…In the course of their orbits these planets pass each other every twenty years…A much rarer occurance is when a third planet, Mars, passes during or shortly after the conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn, so that the three planets are close together.”(Ibid. p.171)

Whatever the case, we as the faithful each year follow the star to Bethlehem to see what is happening!

Pastor Victor McKusik
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