What about this star that made it so special? The star of Bethlehem was special because it led the magi to Mary and Joseph and Jesus. Bible scholar Colin R. Nicholl researched astronomy to make his case that this star was actually a comet. His book The Great Christ Comet argues that this interpretation further supports the historicity of the Gospels.
The magi mentioned in this second chapter of Matthew were likely Persian astronomers and astrologers who were well-trained to observe and track these types of celestial phenomena. Months after Jesus’ birth, they followed the star to the right house (v. 9). They may have known Messianic prophecies via Jewish exiles in Babylon (such as Daniel), or even from the days of Balaam (see Num. 24:17). How many of them were there? We don’t know, although three is the traditional answer due to the specific mention of gifts (Matt. 2:11). What motivated them? Their stated desire was to worship the newborn King (v. 2).
Their arrival would certainly have captured the attention of everyone in Jerusalem! Imagine a caravan of distinguished foreign visitors arriving unannounced and telling everyone they’re in search of a new king. No wonder Herod was fearful. This event substantiated at least five features of the Christmas story. First, it confirmed Bethlehem as the prophesied birthplace of the Messiah (vv. 5–6). Second, it proved again that God would control events (v. 12). Third, it revealed that human authorities would lie and oppose Jesus (v. 8). Fourth, the star provided another miraculous sign of the Incarnation. Fifth and finally, the magi’s visit demonstrated that Christmas is for all, the Gentiles as well as the Jewish people. Jesus is King of all nations.
>> Tonight, step out in the darkness of the evening (even if it is chilly) and look to the sky. Observe the stars and marvel at the handiwork of God’s creation, which remains completely under His control today.
God of all miracles, you love us and know each of us intimately. Thank you for sending your Son, so each of us can know you personally.