God so loved the world that He gave to us his gift, his only Begotten Son. This gift which has been announced in the constellations, by the gospel message in Scripture, by angelic proclamation, and by the appearance of a star was delivered to us by his love.
Although Adam and Eve had failed to obey God and were removed from Paradise, God had a purpose and a love for humanity, promising the Savior through Eve’s seed. Centuries later, Abraham, an astronomer, was told to recount the stars which painted the story of the promised Seed. This starry story of God’s redemption for humanity was displayed by the Mazzaroth, the band of constellations beginning with Virgo, the Virgin, and ending with Leo, the Lion of Judah. God’s plan and purpose to redeem humanity is dramatized in the skies.
Explaining the presentation of the Gift, the four gospels recount his birth in four ways: kingship, servanthood, humanness, and spiritually. Matthew’s gospel calls Jesus, the Anointed, shares Christ’s royal lineage through the promised seed and the throne of David, and shares the nativity of the promised Messiah. Mark’s gospel simply identifies Jesus Christ, YaHWeH Saves, as the Son of God. Luke’s gospel relates the human lineage of Jesus through Mary as originating from God, and shares the nativity from a human perspective. John’s gospel announces that the pre-existing Word, the Logos, was made flesh. Thus, Jesus is presented in four dimensions.
Angels have importance in the announcement of the birth of John the Baptist and of Jesus, and in the protection of the Christ Child. While Zacharias doubted the angel Gabriel’s message of John, young Mary faithfully received Gabriel’s message of the Savior and was overshadowed by the power of the Holy Spirit upon conception. Although Mary’s X-chromosome determined the humanness of the Baby, God’s spiritual provision of the Y-chromosome determined his sex. Isn’t it awesome to ponder how God could interact with humanity so that the living Word, Jesus Christ, could take upon the form of a servant and be made human? No wonder the angels praised God, saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”
Remembering the former teachings of the prophet Daniel, the Parthian Magi knew the signs of the advent of Christ. When Mary conceived on Rosh Hashana (9/11/3 BC), the Jewish New Year, the constellation Virgo was displayed as a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars (Rev. 12:1). During Mary’s pregnancy, the triple conjunction of Jupiter (king planet) with Regulus (king star) ornamented the constellation of the Lion. At Jesus’ birth (6/17/2 BC), the conjunction of Venus and Jupiter became a brilliant display in the Lion constellation. As the Magi showed up to worship the baby Jesus (12/25/2 BC), Jupiter in retrograde appeared to have stopped over the town of Bethlehem. God used his heavenly creation to herald the birth of Christ.
Truly, the first Christmas was when the Magi showered gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh in response to God’s gift to humanity. As the announcement of Christ has been displayed in the skies by the meaning of the constellations, recorded in Scripture, proclaimed by angels, and heralded by heavenly signs let us continue to share Christmas with others in giving gifts and relating to them the story of Christ’s birth.