“The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world” (John 1:9).
Is anyone else out there captured by that star–that wondrous star–which burned so brightly on that sacred night so long ago? That strange and mysterious star that moved the Magi to travel so far? The very star that guided these learned, seeking men to the place where the new King lived?
I have been captivated by its beauty, its mystery, its message. I start searching the scriptures to learn more about it. Did you know the only accounting of its presence is in Matthew 2:1-10? How can this be? This wonderful star about which we lift our voices to sing is only mentioned once? The search continues…
My eyes move to the cross-reference in the middle of the page in my sacred text. And I find Numbers 24:17: “I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near. A star will come out of Jacob; a scepter will rise out of Israel.”
Ah, but this star in Numbers is not the star mentioned in Matthew. This star is the long-awaited Star. The Messiah. The Savior of the world. This Star is Jesus. The King of kings and Lord of lords.
So, then, these passages speak of two different stars. The star seen in the Bethlehem sky gave off great light. But it was just a beacon in the heavens to draw men to the real Star of Christmas—Jesus, the Bright and Morning Star.
It is said in Isaiah 9:2: “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.”
This light is Jesus…the Christ…Messiah…the newborn King.
The star about which we sing at Christmas, that star in the sky over Bethlehem, radiated with the glory of this newborn King. That star’s light signaled that the True Light had come.
John 1:9 says: “The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world.”
Jesus Himself said in John 8:12: “ I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
Jesus is the True Light. HE is the Star of Christmas. He shines His light into all the world and gives life to all who believe in Him.
And as followers of Christ Jesus, we too are called to be His light. Just like that star at Bethlehem, we are to proclaim that the Messiah has come.
We see in Matthew 5:14-16 these words: “You are the light of the world. …let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”
In the original Greek language, the word for light is phós. It means “to shine.”
This reminds me of those glow-in-the-dark stars. You know, the ones that can be stuck on the ceiling and that shine when the light is turned off. These stars are made with phosphorous chemicals. In order for them to glow, they must be exposed to a bright source of light. And (if I understand correctly) energy from the light source is absorbed by these chemicals and causes the glowing effect. Unfortunately, over a period of time the light will dim. The only way they can glow brightly again is to come near the source of light once more.
In the same way, we must stay near the source of light—the True Light…the Lord Jesus Christ—in order to shine with the brilliance of His glory. Whenever we leave His presence, we begin to dim just like those stars on the ceiling.
Philippians 2:12-16 instructs us to “…shine like stars in the universe as [we] hold out the word of life….” It tells us that we must follow God’s commands and be blameless and pure. This is a tall order, and one that can only be accomplished by staying close to the True Light and absorbing His power as we apply His truth to our lives. Only then will our light shine brightly before men. Our light that draws men to His light—the Source of light and life.
I’m still captivated by that star. Though now, the star in the Bethlehem sky so long ago has new significance for me. It is a shining example of how I also am to proclaim tidings of great joy—the good news of the Savior. It beams with the call to radiate His light for all the world to see.
When someone sees me and my life, what am I radiating? Am I shining with the light of the Lord Jesus? Am I a beacon, drawing others to Christ by reflecting His love and grace and mercy? Is there a welcoming smile on my face or a sour scowl that turns people away? Do my words bring truth and hope to a dark, hurting world? Or am I just adding to the darkness with grumbling and self-focused opinion?
O Lord, I want to shine with Your brilliance! I want to pierce the darkness with Your love and draw those who have no peace to the Prince of Peace. Help me stay by Your side, to absorb the truth of Your Word, and in Your power to gleam with Your glory that all the world may come to worship You! In the name of my precious Savior, JESUS, the Messiah, the True Light – The Star, Amen.
All Scripture from the New International Version, 1984.