Thursday, December 19, 2013

There He is!

Until I read the article below, I didn't know that anyone considered the Bethlehem star to be something other than a "dead astronomical body." I copied here a rich kind of Advent food, from our recent church bulletin, a meditation on light and stars.

One of the pictures I found was of a "variable star," which I had also not heard of before. That name got me thinking about how constant our Light of the World is by contrast, and never waning.

Though the stars we see in our skies are only dead shadows of the living realities, they too have their glory, which is only faintly conveyed by these pictures, though they do decorate this post nicely. We often hear that God is the True Light; this is not theoretical or a mere intellectual fact. Fr. Artemy exhorts us to know a taste of that Reality even in this life, in prayer.
The closer we come to the end of the [Nativity] fast, the brighter the wondrous Bethlehem star is enkindled above our heads, proclaiming to the Magi the time of the Infant's birth, and the place where He lay...The rays of this rational star (according to the holy fathers, this star was actually an angelic power, and not a dead astronomical body) illumine with their incorruptible, unfading light the twilight in the Cave -- the rib cage encasing each of our hearts...
variable star

The rays of this star bring the soul, which has but scarcely touched it, to inexplicable trembling and joy, the likes of which we shall not find here on this sinful world with its sensuous, quickly passing pleasures, disappearing like smoke.

 I am...the bright and morning star (Rev. 22:16), testifies the Lord. And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give...the morning star. He that hath an ear to hear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches (Revelations 2:26, 28-29). 

Ye do well, repeats the Apostle Peter, that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts (2 Peter 1:19). The morning star is hidden prayer of the heart! It is made not with lips or fingers, but with the mind and heart; it turns all of man's existence to the Lord, and places the disciple before the most radiant face of his Teacher...

Illumined by the unwaning light of the Nativity star, let us pass...under the canopy of the very cave in Bethlehem...There He is, the Angel of Great Counsel, the King of the world, the Father of the age to come, as the "Old Testament Evangelist," the Holy Prophet Isaiah, exclaimed in prophetic, sober inebriation. There He is, the Yearning of the nations, the Expectation of all peoples, the Great Light that has come into the world to enlighten those sitting in darkness! Already celebrating the Forefeast of the Nativity night that is bright as day, let us sing...with the whole Church, "Christ is born, give ye glory...Christ is on earth, let us be exalted. Sing unto the Lord all the earth..." [Nativity hymn].

--Father Artemy Vladimirov


Martha said...

I've always admired stars & finding constellations, and never really understood how they can be visible, yet so far away and dead by the time WE see them. ♥ Happy to read that the star of Bethlehem is an angelic star! Beautiful.

Pom Pom said...

Hello friend! This cheers my heart, the images and your words.

Gumbo Lily said...

Glory to God in the Highest! And on earth, peace & good will to men.

Good stuff, Gretchen Joanna.

wayside wanderer said...

I know some commentaries I have read debate the star was the Shekinah glory or a meteor or some other type of bright light. I figure God can do what He wants in that sure talk about a lot of things and sometimes I just want to wonder about it. You know? My favorite star verse is in Job 38 where it talks about the morning stars singing. Blessings!

James the Thickheaded said...

Stumbled on the star as Holy Light and heavenly body once myself... and rather than the astronomical manifestation we're so accustomed to assuming, this notions just makes a lot more sense. But honestly it slipped out of mind, and can't remember where I saw it either... so thank you so much for this reminder.

And by the way, Merry Christmas + All the Joy of the season to you and yours! Christ is born! Glorify Him!