Posted in theology

Christmas Thoughts: Odds and Ends

By Elizabeth Prata

You know when you’re driving along in the car, and your mind wanders and has all these random thoughts? I do that. Since it’s the Christmas season, my mind was rambling along as the yellow line in the road pulled me toward work the other morning.

I believe the ‘star’ that the Magi followed to the boy child’s house (Matthew 2:9) was an angel, leading them. The word in Greek actually means to lead forth. I know God could make a planet or a star or a comet lead the Magi but I think it makes more sense that it was an angel, since also angels are called stars sometimes in the Bible.

Incidentally, there is a great conjunction in the sky happening on December 21 in the northern hemisphere. The planets of Jupiter and Saturn will align so closely together that they’ll look as if they’re one brilliant point of radiating light, creating a phenomena astronomers call as the “Star of Bethlehem” or the “Christmas Star.” This hasn’t happened since the year 1226. It will be visible about 45 minutes after sunset low on the horizon in the southwestern sky. More info here.

EPrata photo. Picture of an old, regular conjunction

I never knew about a ‘live nativity’ until I moved to Georgia. I barely knew about any nativity, never mind a live one. It’s when people dress as the Nativity biblical characters, and along with live animals such as donkeys and camels, act out the nativity for sightseers to view, ponder, and discuss.

EPrata photo
EPrata photo

I also did not know what a luminary was. I think they are beautiful. They’re white paper bags filled at the bottom with sand and with a candle or tea light carefully placed in the sand, they are lit after dark and make a pretty glow.

EPrata photo

When I was a heathen, I was always impressed with the story of the Magi, and wondered why they would travel so far just to see a baby.

When I was a heathen, we usually went to church on Christmas, and of course during the season we heard all the Christmas carols. I used to love ‘O Come All ye Faithful’ but I didn’t know why. This puzzled me. Come to where? Faithful to what? Now I know.


Christian writer and Georgia teacher's aide who loves Jesus, a quiet life, art, beauty, and children.