By George Feldman
Most Christmas scenes show the Magi, or Wise Men, worshipping Jesus at the manger. This picture is more accurate. The child was living in a house and closer to a year and a half in age when the Magi made their visit. This is supported by the narrative in Matthew 2.
The star is a fascinating feature in this account. The Magi were Babylonian astrologers who knew of such prophecies as Numbers 24:17 that said such things as - "There shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Scepter out of Israel."
The knowledge of these prophecies were probably preserved by the Magi caste and handed down from one generation to another. The star which they saw in the East is surrounded by mystery. Attempts have been made to explain it in scientific terms. Some scholars suggest it was a supernova, or exploding star, or a rare alignment of planets. But natural explanation are not adequate, and Matthew evidently understood this. The star did not precede the Magi in their journey to Jerusalem, as is supposed, but the star which they had seen in the East reappeared to them in Jerusalem and led them to the house in Nazareth where the young child was.
Just what was this "Star" they saw hovering over the house where the young child Jesus now lived? Sometimes the term star is used in a figurative or symbolic sense in the Bible, such as in Rev. 8:10-11, is that the case here? This supernatural phenomenon was actually the "Shakinah Glory", the same glorious "Presence" that filled the "Holy of Holies" in the Tabernacle. We find this explanation both plausible and credible.
However, the focus should not remain on the subject of the star. It should lead and direct our worship to the "God - Man", the Incarnate Word of God Who is both Creator and the Redeemer of mankind. Let us be wise as the Wise Men were, and fall down and worship Him.