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Christmas Memories

When the Star Stood Still

By Kenneth D. Barney

In the providence of God the Wise Men from the East were led to the Christ child by the mysterious “Star of Bethlehem.”

Numerous theories have been advanced as to what this star was. I frankly do not know, but I see no reason why an all-powerful God may not have created a special heavenly body for that occasion alone. After all, the announcement of His Son’s birth was no ordinary matter! It was the most glorious event of human history.

The most intriguing part of the whole story is found in Matthew 2:9. It tells us that “the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young Child was.” In other words, the star actually stood still and apparently shot its beams downward until they converged on the very house where Jesus was.

I am sure you have seen a bright star while traveling, and it seemed that you would eventually come directly under it. But as you moved, it moved also and was always ahead of you. For a star to halt and point out something so small as a house in a tiny village is astonishing. Yet there can be no doubt this is just what happened. The Greek word for “stood” is used in other passages where someone is spoken of as standing in a certain spot. One scholar translates it, “The star took its stand.”

These Wise Men needed no special guidance to Bethlehem from Jerusalem. That was easy. But the star guided them to the particular house where the Christ child lay. Did those men ask themselves with every clop of their camels’ hooves, “Is the star about to stop?” Can you imagine their breathless amazement when the heavenly beacon did indeed “take its stand” over a tiny dwelling in old Bethlehem?

The space journey of this star from the eastern home of the Magi to the house in Bethlehem is a picture of how world events have moved steadily onward from the first promise of the Redeemer to His actual appearance.

From the moment sin entered the world, everything moved toward one grand destiny. There were the Flood, the calling out of Israel, the giving of the Law, the wilderness wanderings, and the captivities. There were Noah and Abraham and Moses and David and the prophets and kings. It was all a great march that would stop only when its God-ordained climax was achieved.

At last the fullness of time came, and God sent forth His Son, made of a woman, made under the Law. And history’s measured steps halted over a spot in an obscure Palestinian hamlet where the finger of God had pointed since Genesis 3:15.

With that event the march resumed. For nearly two thousand years it has moved on. But again it has an appointed rendezvous with destiny. Indeed it is the destiny of all destinies — the final struggle between righteousness and sin.

Like the Star of Bethlehem, world events are leading us on toward the day when the star will stand still again. Every shot in the Middle East, every raucous shout of lawlessness in the city streets, every movement of “the land of Magog” is another step toward the moment when history shall pause once more.

Is the star about to stop? I believe it is. God’s Word seems to indicate it. Let us who name the name of Christ follow the increasing brightness of the prophetic Word “until the day dawn, and the day-star arise in your hearts” (2 Peter 1:19).

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From the Pentecostal Evangel, Dec. 6, 1970.

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