I went to see “The Nativity Story” with my daughter on Saturday (12/2) and have been thinking about it ever since. The movie was good, very good in some parts, and not quite so good in others. (Click here to see my complete review) It drove me back to the scriptures to check out a few things.
First of all, it seems like only the poor folk were really looking and hoping for the Messiah. Joseph and Mary were poor, and all their friends and relatives were also. The angel appears to poor shepherds in the field, not to the princes in the palace.
It is obvious that King Herod and the Chief priests were not seeking or even wanting a Messiah. The star was visible to all, but only the ‘gentile’ Magi left home to investigate. The Priests and scribes who supposedly knew the scriptures were not looking for the Messiah and didn’t care to leave the Temple even after they found the Bethlehem prophecy (Micah 5:2). Herod didn’t leave his comfortable palace; he did react later however, sending soldiers to kill the child.
It is clear from the text that the Magi were in the east on Christmas night when they saw the star and probably several months passed before they made it to Jerusalem. Also notice that we really don’t know from the text how many Magi there actually were. We only know that they brought three different gifts–gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
Leaving Jerusalem, they follow some kind of ‘supernatural’ star right to the house where baby Jesus and his parents were then living in Bethlehem. According to Matthew 2:9-10, the star looked similar to the natural star they had observed months ago, but this one actually guides them right to the house? What kind of star was this?
So it seems that there were really two stars in the Christmas story, a ‘natural’ display on Christmas night, and some kind of ‘supernatural’ representation several months later. The first natural star was definitely a ‘sign’ but the second was a ‘wonder’ for sure. Least I sure wonder.