Outer space has always excited me. There is so much wonder out there. I have always loved things that are bigger than me. Miraculous stories, big dreams that scare me, movies with huge plot twists and unexpected-beautiful endings, and of course: outer space.
This year is particularly fascinating to me. I am sure by now you are aware of the “Christmas Star” this year that will be showing on the longest night of our darkest year. According to NASA, “The December solstice, which occurs on December 21 this year, marks the winter solstice in the Northern Hemisphere and the summer solstice in the Southern Hemisphere. On the December solstice, the Sun reaches its southernmost position in the sky, no matter where on Earth you happen to be. The Sun’s changing height in the sky throughout the year is caused by Earth’s tilt as it orbits our local star.” https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/edu/events/2020/12/21/winter-solstice-in-the-northern-hemisphere/
I could honestly stop writing right here and leave this be, but I want to dive a little further into this. This year, #2020sucks, has been grueling, one marked by unexpected loss, added anxiety, political unrest, and a pandemic. The “Christmas Star” this year is the Great Conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn. NASA states, “What makes this year’s spectacle so rare, then? It’s been nearly 400 years since the planets passed this close to each other in the sky, and nearly 800 years since the alignment of Saturn and Jupiter occurred at night, as it will for 2020, allowing nearly everyone around the world to witness this “great conjunction.”
The sun will be in the southernmost position in the sky, and everyone in the world will be able to witness the “great conjunction”. NASA believes (at least the writer of this article https://www.nasa.gov/feature/the-great-conjunction-of-jupiter-and-saturn), the timing of the “Great Conjunction” and Winter Solstice is merely coincidence. I completely disagree. When it comes to the Solar System, I don’t believe in coincidences… maybe parking space availability at Publix… but not planets aligning with Winter Solstice… in 2020… lol
You see, we spend our whole lives exploring the meaning of life, the deep seas, outer space, and the human body. We are fascinated that there is a God/Creator out there, and we will do whatever it takes to get to Him or explore His creation. Some people don’t believe in a God or designer at all. (that’s a different topic for another day). However, it interests me, scratch that, it ignites me that the Sun will be at its Southernmost position in the sky no matter where you are. (you can’t argue perspective on this one… no matter where you are. Straight facts the sun will be at the southernmost point)
How We Get There
It reminds me of Jesus. Truly. The God I believe in, sent Jesus to the lowest (southernmost point) here on earth to show His glory and offer us a relationship with Him. A manger in Bethlehem to be exact. During a time of political unrest with Rome in charge. During a time where luxury wasn’t available to everyone. During a time when the world was darkest.
Jesus says, no one comes to the Father except through Him. The vastness of God. The majesty of God. The creativity of God. The blessings of God. You cannot be near without Jesus. Every religion out there besides Christianity preaches: you must do something to get to God.
Now let’s talk about these gas giants in the sky who will be aligning for everyone to see on earth, amid arguably the worst/unexpected year of our lives. Notice this conjunction hasn’t been observed at night in nearly 800 years. God didn’t line this up in 2012, 2016, or any other year. He chose 2020. A year we needed hope the most. The whole world. Not just America. But everyone. Sounds a lot like the Gospel if you ask me. I am sure you’ve read articles about this resembling the Star of Bethlehem that led the Magi to Jesus’ birth. “The idea that a conjunction between bright planets could explain the Star of Bethlehem isn’t new. A note in the Annals of the Abbey of Worcester from 1285 A.D. points out an alignment of Jupiter and Saturn that happened at the time of Jesus’ birth. And Johannes Kepler himself touched on the idea in the 17th century.” https://astronomy.com/news/2020/12/the-star-of-bethlehem-can-science-explain-what-it-really-was
Whether you believe in Jesus as your resurrected Savior or not, historians, astrologists, astronomers, and other scientists do not denounce the birth of Jesus. His birth changed the world’s date system from B.C. to A.D. okay, so this isn’t an argument of whether or not He was born here on earth. But let’s say you don’t believe in the Virgin birth or His death and resurrection. I implore you to revisit that conversation within yourself as you look up tomorrow night at the planets aligning.
You’ve heard it said before, “the stars are aligning” which gives you some “clarity” on decisions… well why don’t we look at the brightest star in our Solar System, the sun, in which all the planets orbit. The sun will be at the southernmost point in the sky, and the axis of the earth will be tilted perfectly, and the “Great Conjunction” that is comparable to the Star of Bethlehem (Matthew 2:2) will be occurring during this Christmas season.
Because you see, it’s never been about us getting to God. It has always been about Him pursuing us. God spoke nature into existence and gave us humans access to study science and history. However, true access to Him is through His son Jesus. “Jesus replied, I am the way, the truth, and the life, no one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)
It isn’t enough to just believe there is a God out there. The way to God is through His Son, Jesus, and He is being extra clear with us this year, through astronomy, that He did all this work in His perfect timing. “For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.” (Romans 1:20)
He is so loving. He is so kind. He promised His Son immediately after Adam and Eve sinned. (Genesis 3:15). God fulfilled His promise. He lowered Himself. And He is inviting us into Higher Places with Him. I can’t wait to gaze at His reminder tomorrow that He is in control. He loves you very much. If you struggle with believing, ask Him to help you in your unbelief. He will 😉
“What do you mean, ‘If I can’?” Jesus asked. “Anything is possible if a person believes.”
The father of the sick boy instantly cried out, “I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!” (Mark 9:23-24)