December 14, 2020

Advent 2020 - Stars

 Devotion for the Week...

It's the third week of Advent! This year for our Advent devotions we're looking at four of our Christmas symbols/traditions and today we're going to take a look at the stars that are so prevalent in out decorations. In this Advent series, we've already looked at Christmas music and angels, so you can go read those if you've missed any.

The star in our decorations comes from  the story of the wise men who came from the East and asked King Herod, "Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star as it rose, and we have come to worship him" (Matthew 2:2). Later, as they continue their journey, "the star they had seen in the east guided them to Bethlehem. It went ahead of them and stopped over the place where the child was" (v. 9). From these verses, we have created a picture in our minds of this massive star that would have been as big and as bright as the full moon, if not bigger and brighter. After all, it was enough to lead these men on the journey to find Jesus!

In reality, though, the star wasn't so obvious. For the ordinary person, looking into the sky at night, it would have blended in with all the other stars. The wise men, on the other hand, were astrologers and made their living out of studying the night sky. They would have noticed any new light, no matter how small.

As educated men, they would also have known prophecies about the coming Messiah from when the people of Israel had been captives in Babylonia hundreds of years earlier. Something about this particular new star brought those stories to mind and sent them on their journey to find the baby who would be king.

A tiny speck of a new star doesn't lend itself to artistic renderings very well, which explains why the Christmas star is always so big and showy. I think we lose something important from the story, though, when we make the star impossible to miss. The sign the wise men followed to find Jesus was miniscule. Anyone who was not watching intently would never have seen it and wouldn't realize the miracle it pointed to.

What miracles do we miss in our lives because we don't notice the tiny signs that point to them? God is still at work in the world around us, but He rarely sends the angels to declare His works like He did for the shepherds (see Luke 2:8-20). More often there are tiny signs - a restored relationship, a changed diagnosis, a new job - things that could be taken for normal, but actually come directly from His hand. Are we paying attention well enough to see those signs of His work? 
Are we looking closely enough to see the miraculous |
Plenty of people would have seen the new star that the Wise Men saw, but they wouldn't have known it was new. They would have thought it just an ordinary star that had always been there. They missed the miraculous because they weren't looking closely enough. Are we looking closely enough?


  1. Thank you! So appreciate your perspecive!

  2. I guess I fell into the trap of assuming that the "Christ-star" would have been big and obvious - but I like your explanation, and it really makes the rest of the story fall into place. And that leads to the point about looking closely enough... Thank you!

  3. Thank you, Leanne. Today's post was perfect, hit home with me and gave me peace. Merry Christmas!


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