Is the rare ‘Christmas Star’ visible this December the Star of Bethlehem?

Rome, Italy, Dec 10, 2020 / 01:00 pm (CNA).- The “Great Conjunction” of Jupiter and Saturn taking place this month — dubbed the “Christmas Star” — is a pretty sight, but it is impossible to know for sure if it has any connection to the Star of Bethlehem, a Vatican astronomer said.

On Dec. 21, the planets Jupiter and Saturn will appear a tenth of a degree apart in the night sky, something called a “Great Conjunction.”

This conjunction happens approximately every 20 years, but this year the two planets will appear the closest they have been in almost 400 years. To the naked eye, they will look like one, bright star, thus earning the nickname the “Christmas Star.”

Br. Guy Consolmagno, S.J., told CNA that the conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter doesn’t have a religious significance, but “nonetheless, it is a pretty sight that everyone should have a look at.”

The Catholic priest is an astronomer and director of the Vatican Observatory, which has research sites outside Rome at Castel Gandolfo and in Tucson, Arizona.

To see the conjunction, he recommended looking just after sunset for Jupiter, “the bright ‘star’ low to the west; nearby is a fainter ‘star,’ Saturn.”

All of December, “Jupiter will be creeping closer to Saturn,” he explained. “On Dec. 21, they’ll be so close together that your naked eye won’t be able to tell them apart.”

Some astronomers have theorized that this conjunction of the two bright planets could be what the three “wise men from the East” saw in the sky and followed, leading them to find the Child Jesus, as recounted in St. Matthew’s Gospel.

“Is this really what the Star of Bethlehem was?” Consolmagno asked. “No one knows for sure what the star was, and until we have a time machine where we can go back and interview Matthew with a video recorder, no one ever will know for sure!”

He recalled that the Star of Bethlehem itself was not the focus of the account, but at whom the star pointed.

“The important thing to remember is that the Star of Bethlehem is just a small part of the infancy narrative in Matthew’s Gospel. The point of his story isn’t the star. It’s the baby,” he said.

“Whatever the Magi would have seen … it was something that nobody looking at the sky would have noticed, but they did,” Consolmagno told the CNA Newsroom podcast in December 2019.

“The shepherds in the fields where it was dark, where they didn’t have city lights, they knew the sky. What was it the Magi saw that everybody else didn’t see?” Consolmagno asked.

“The Magi are seeing something in the sky which is interpreted in terms of astrology. Now, astrology is specifically forbidden in the Hebrew Scriptures,” he explained. “It was being used as a reason to worship the stars rather than God, and as a way of denying human freedom.”

He said that you can download a program on your computer which tells you the position of the stars and roll it back to April of the year 6 B.C. What you will see is “all of the planets rising with the sun.”

“And our understanding of what the ancients thought of astrology is they thought this would be significant, but you could only know that it’s happening if you’ve calculated it, because the sun is there! You can’t actually see the planets,” he said.

“And this is a relatively rare event, it all fits,” he continued. “Is that really what Matthew was talking about? I don’t know. It’s fun to play with the idea.”


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4 Comments

  1. I respectfully disagree with him. Everything is significant. Our magnificent Father left nothing to chance. The year 2020 has world wide incredible events from pandemic to severe political divisions. This Star must be something. For me it is a sign of hope just like the Star was 2000 years ago to the Magi. It is a sign that the Lord Jesus is still and always will be on the throne as of the day of his birth. He is the Great and Everlasting Savior, the King of Kings for all the peoples of the earth. His love is never ending. Yes. This Star is a creation of the Father himself to encourage us to look into Heaven for everlasting hope.

    • Agree– signs in the Heavens are significant. But I don’t in any way read the 21 December as a new “Star of Bethlehem” : The Grand Conjunction is foreshadowing the advent of the coming AntiChrist. The Corona Virus planned Pandemic is part of this catalyst that will usher in the Luciferian New World Order. The Jupiter-Saturn Grand Conjunction signifies a massive change to come that has already been initiated to the point of no return. Such a coming worldwide change (“The great reset”, Agenda 2030, etc.) will involve the rapid transformation of the social, political, economic and religious orders with the pro-UN endorsements of Pope Francis) , and not for the better–. Catholics: remember the messages of Fatima. Pray that if martyrdom is demanded of you, you will have the courage to embrace it.

  2. But the problem here is that, well, it’s not a star. It is two planets slightly aligning when seen from one POV. That’s it.

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