FEvery holiday season, a man living in the hills above my hometown lights a star of Bethlehem display. The star is over 20 feet high and, on clear nights, can be seen for miles around. Just a few years ago, an October fire tore through the foothills. My father, a firefighter, told me the house with the star was among the property lost to the flames. But despite personal loss, the star’s maker still lit the beacon that December.

For as long as I can remember that star has marked the beginning of the Christmas festivities. I see it on my way home from work and as I go about my holiday shopping. It is a simple, silent reminder of the hope Christ brought to the world over 2,000 years ago. (more…)


A couple of weeks ago Take Two discussed 5 common myths about Christmas. Last week, we looked at the significance of the wise men. This week, we glimpse at another key “figure” in the Christmas story—the star of Bethlehem. (more…)

One Christmastime, Dad surprised the family with a new Nativity scene. The set featured a stylized cherry-wood stable and a host of beautiful porcelain figurines. There was the angel with golden wings and a trumpet held aloft, Mary clad in lavender and blue as she kneeled over Baby Jesus, surrounded by animals galore. (more…)

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. Where stores are decked out in garlands and bows, aisles of ornaments glisten and glow, and rolls of gift wrap rise like hands to be chosen. Inevitably, tucked somewhere in the sea of snowmen and reindeer, sits the familiar image of three wise men and their guiding star.

This same scene also appears on Christmas cards, window clings, and other holiday décor. So it’s no surprise, then, that people begin to wonder what the bright light was that led the magi to Bethlehem. A supernova? A regular nova? A ’67 Nova? (more…)

Scholars estimate the Magi arrived in Bethlehem up to two years after Christ’s birth.

My pastor has an issue with the three wise men. Movies, plays, crèches, and Christmas cards usually depict the Magi1 among the people present at Christ’s birth, despite Matthew 2:1’s clear statement that the Magi didn’t arrive in the area (Judea) until after that event. Because this discrepancy bugs my pastor so much, some congregants cut the wise men out of the Christmas cards they send him. (more…)