Sunday after the Nativity – 2020

Christ is born!

My dear friends, I hope that you have had a blessed Feast of the Nativity and a blessed Christmas season.

If you’ve been paying attention to the secular news in the past few weeks, you would have heard about the astronomical conjunction of the the planets Jupiter and Saturn. It was widely and somewhat fantastically called the “Christmas Star” by the press, accompanied by descriptions of how such a close conjunction hadn’t been seen in some eight hundred years, or so.

And put that information into the minds and the typing fingers of those on social media, and it this particular astronomical observation was turned into a portent of just about anything that any particular self-appointed expert or prophet wanted it to be. And that’s normal, frankly. That’s to be expected.

But in the midst of it, I think there still is a real lesson that we can learn from it. It admittedly was impressive, if you’re familiar with the motion of the celestial bodies. The conjunction was genuinely neat to see.

And it was the closeness of the approach of the planets that made it a sight to behold. Their proximity to each other.

Now, of course, simple geometry and observation tell us that the planets weren’t really all that much closer to each other than they ordinarily are. It was only their alignment to where *we* are, on Earth that caused them to be observable in such a way as to appear quite impressively close to each other.

Over the past few weeks, the Church has been drawing our minds ever closer, each week, ever closer to the contemplation of the Nativity of our Lord. Bringing us – in mind and in heart – ever closer to approaching the great mystery of the birth of God Himself in a manger.

It is as if, instead of the stars and the planets, we are called to see the approach, the conjunction of Him Who is the Creator of the stars, with us – His creation. We see the conjunction of eternity with history. We see the conjunction of the divine and the human.

And yet, even though simple geometry tells us that the conjunction of two planets was made something noteworthy only because of our ability to observe it here on earth, this conjunction, the conjunction of the heavenly and the earthly, this unfathomable and joyous mystery of the Nativity of our Lord, is noteworthy in and of itself.

While a conjunction of planets can be viewed only for a short time and only very rarely; the great mystery of the Nativity is viewed by all, at all times, throughout all history. Before the advent of our Lord, all the prophets spoke of His coming – they prophesied in view of the coming Nativity.

Now that the fulness of time has been accomplished, we who dwell in a world visited by Him Who fashioned the world now also can look toward the cave in Bethlehem which saw the birth of Him Who hung the very stars themselves.

As we pray during this season of the Nativity, “Thy Nativity, O Christ our God, hath shone upon the world with the light of knowledge; for thereby they who served the stars, through a star were taught to worship Thee, the Sun of righteousness, and to know Thee the Dayspring from on high. O Lord, glory to Thee.”

And there is a lesson and a gift that we can take even from our modern “Christmas star.” That while the eyes of the world scanned the heavens to see the conjunction between two planets, and we were even rightly impressed by the sight, for it was something to behold – let us not then forget the great conjunction of true God and true Man, found in the one Person, Him Who is born in Bethlehem, Who is Christ the Lord.

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