Sitting in the stand of the sports arena
Waiting for the show to begin
Red lights, green lights, strawberry wine
A good friend of mine, follow the stars
Venus and Mars
Are alright tonight
Paul McCartney – Venus And Mars/Rock Show Lyrics
Man has always been fascinated by the night sky and most newspapers publish horoscopes or readings of the stars which predict the future for individuals. However, many Christians are rightly concerned about searching for signs in the stars. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states:
All forms of divination are to be rejected: recourse to Satan or demons, conjuring up the dead or other practices falsely supposed to “unveil” the future. Consulting horoscopes, astrology, palm reading, interpretation of omens and lots, the phenomena of clairvoyance, and recourse to mediums all conceal a desire for power over time, history, and, in the last analysis, other human beings, as well as a wish to conciliate hidden powers. They contradict the honour, respect, and loving fear that we owe to God alone. (CCC 2116)
However there are a number of occasions where stars are mentioned in the Bible, perhaps the best known being the star of Bethlehem which led the wise men to the baby Jesus.
The difference is that today people use the stars for selfish reasons, some even worship them whereas the Bible mentions the stars in relation to creation and signs of and from God (See Job 31:26-28). We may also recall the sun dancing at Fatima in front of thousands of witnesses.
The Book of Job one of the books in that part of the Bible referred to as the Wisdom books contains a number of references to stars and constellations, (Job 9:9, 38:31-32) and Isaiah refers to the creation of the heavens (Isaiah 40:26).
Perhaps one of the most striking passages is recorded in Psalm 19:
The heavens declare the glory of God,
the vault of heaven proclaims his handiwork,
day discourses of it to day,
night to night hands on the knowledge.
No utterance at all, no speech,
not a sound to be heard,
but from the entire earth the design stands out,
this message reaches the whole world.
Kind David 1,000 years before the birth of Christ sang about the nature of the heavens and their ability to speak to us. He recognised that they contain knowledge, that there was a design and a message about the glory of God that could be seen throughout the whole world long before the invention of telescopes, spacecraft or the internet!
Whilst it may be argued that this was simply poetry, we can turn to the New Testament where we hear Jesus himself speak:
‘There will be signs in the sun and moon and stars;’ (Luke 21:25). Indeed, Jesus also warns about what will occur when he returns:
‘Immediately after the distress of those days the sun will be darkened, the moon will not give its light, the stars will fall from the sky and the powers of the heavens will be shaken’ (Matthew 24:29).
Similar symbols are recorded by John in the Book of Revelation.
This Christmas, as you gaze upon the nativity scene and sing carols, think about those wise men who followed the sign in heaven that led them to Jesus, a sign put there by God at the beginning of time, and consider for a moment, what other signs and messages about God we have yet to discover in the night sky.
If you want to know more, particularly about the Star of Bethlehem, there is an excellent website: http://www.bethlehemstar.net/ and a YouTube presentation which is truly fascinating.