Br. Guy Consolmagno, SJ, the director of the Vatican Observatory, addresses the question “Can science explain the mystery of the Star of Bethlehem?” in an article at Evening Standard. He highlights several theories before concluding:
Actually, to me the most astonishing part of the story of the Magi is not that they would predict the birth of a king from the positions of the planets; any fortune teller could have done that kind of calculation. Nor is it that they’d pull up roots and travel afar to find out if they were right; we astronomers do that all the time. Instead, it’s that they would be able and willing to recognise the king they were seeking in the child they found in a manger.
Are we able and willing to recognize the child in the manger?
Wasn’t it that in Matthew’s account, the Magis came by to visit Jesus at a much later event than his birth? So during that time, the wise men surely must have visited a poor immigrant household rather than a family taking shelter in an animal shed. But still, as you say, not the king they would have expected, and yet they believed. It is still a captivating story whichever way you tell it.
“Believing is seeing things differently.”
Isabelita, I like that.
The steady Light of the Star of Bethlehem led the Magi to the manger. The Light in their hearts,however, their faith, opened them to recognise the royal origin in this child in the manger. Only the Light of faith can do this. Believing is seeing differently. come from the Sourceall to His own, the King of kings.
I thought you were going to tell us, as an astronomer, about the guiding star!