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Epiphany of the Lord 6-7 January 2018 (YRB)

Recently some Christian scien-tists got to work trying to explain the star that led the wise men to Bethlehem. They came up with a complicated, and no doubt plausible, astronomical theory about how a certain brilliant star may have appeared around the time of the birth of Jesus. Though I was in-trigued by their methods, I won-dered why they bothered. Matthew's wandering star is not about astrono-my. It's religious shorthand for de-scribing how the heavens preside over and guide the events of the world. The image of a star is used in similar ways in the Books of Deu-teronomy, Numbers, Isaiah and the Psalms. This entire feast is all about symbols, not science. Reported by Hippolytus as early as the third cen-tury, it is celebrated twelve days after Christmas, the number itself echoing God's goodness in creating and recreating us.

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