Star of Bethlehem...

Now gather thyself in troops, O daughter of troops: he hath laid siege against us: they shall smite the judge of Israel with a rod upon the cheek. But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel;  whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting. Therefore will he give them up, until the time that she which travaileth hath brought forth: then the remnant of his brethren shall return unto the children of Israel. ~ Micah 5: 1-3

Continued from the last two weeks – full series linked down below…

It is far more interesting to ponder those ancient ancestors known as The Magi, whom today we would describe as astrologers and interpreters of dreams.

They had no doubts at all that what they had seen in the heavens was unusual enough to travel towards; perilous as the journey might have been in those days. Following The Star and dreaming dreams – all had their turns with the story.

They would also have likely been very rich and held in high esteem in their own society, as well as by people who weren’t from their country or religion.

Back when astronomy and astrology were all part and parcel of the same overall studies, (ie ‘science’), they went hand in hand with each other.

The Magi were definitely men of learning, men of great learning, and they would have followed the patterns of the stars religiously.

They had been tracking an unusual phenomenon in the sky, much brighter than anything they had witnessed heretofore. Some say it was an alignment of existing stars coming together in unison. Whatever it was, The Magi knew instinctively that The Star told of the birth of a special king.

At the end we preferred to travel all night, Sleeping in snatches; With the voices singing in our ears, saying That this was all folly. Then at dawn we came down to a temperate valley, Wet, below the snow line, smelling of vegetation;

With a running stream and a water-mill beating the darkness, And three trees on the low sky. But there was no information, and so we continued And arriving at evening, not a moment too soon.

Finding the place it was (you might say) satisfactory.

To have ‘evidence and no doubt.’ That is what those that put themselves forward as our ‘wise men’ seem to propose to us day after day from their sterile rooms high above the avenues.

They have the ‘data’ from which we should derive, they insist, doubt about everything of that for which they have no evidence, no data. We should never doubt the original myths that have made us and sustained us as individuals and as a people across the centuries.

In a pointless world, they would have us cast off the old myths and embrace their ‘new and improved myths — complete with evidence;’ myths made of purposeless matter ‘hovering in the dark.’

All this was a long time ago, I remember, And I would do it again, but set down this; set down this…  

Were we led all that way for Birth or Death? There was a Birth, certainly; We had evidence and no doubt. I had seen birth and death, But had thought they were different; this Birth was Hard and bitter agony for us, like Death, our death.

We returned to our places, these Kingdoms, But no longer at ease here, in the old dispensation. With an alien people clutching their gods.

I should be glad of another death.

Come the early Christian fathers, who attempted to integrate Christian revelation with Judaism and neo-Platonic thought, or Aquinas, who did the same with Aristotle. Men of formidable intellect; of matter, life, mind and spirit.

The human ability to know truth is not dependent upon genes. If it were it wouldn’t be truth.

In the end it remains what it was when it began, a story. The story of a road trip by three astrologers, kings, wise men. A journey by men who saw something special in the heavens and determined to follow it wherever it led, no matter what the cost.

And seeing what these ‘wise men’ have become, we turn. We turn away.

Every year a bit more it seems, a tide has shifted in the hearts of men and we turn like a lodestone to the deeper mystery (or truth) of the human heart; that place where The Star will always shine — always within and yet always beyond us.

In the end, the Mystery of The Magi and The Star, is the Gift.

And he shall stand and feed in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God; and they shall abide: for now shall he be great unto the ends of the earth. And this man shall be the peace, when the Assyrian shall come into our land: and when he shall tread in our palaces, then shall we raise against him seven shepherds, and eight principal men. ~ Micah 5: 4-5


See also Part One: Journey of the Magi eternal glory

Plus Part Two: Journey of the Magi eternal glory: 2

Together with T. S. Elliot: The Journey of the Magi

And Elizabeth Scalia: Incarnation: The Mystery IS the Gift

H/T Gerard Vanderleun and his own wonderful ‘Star of Bethlehem’ from 2006-2008 in American Digest


Face of Jesus by Richard Hook

Soli Deo Gloria!