“I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near. A star will come out of Jacob; a scepter will rise out of Israel. He will crush the foreheads of Moab, the skulls of all the people of Sheth.”
Numbers 24:17 NIV
Wood Buffalo National Park is the largest national park in Canada, but also the largest dark-sky preserve in the world. It is a star-gazers paradise, where a person can observe constellations, the Milky Way and the northern lights – it is also a haven for wildlife featuring the world’s largest herd of free-roaming wood bison. Stars are not the only inhabitants of the night sky: large populations of owls and night hawks roam the park. A Dark Sky Festival is held annually in August, making astronomy a social experience.
When we think of Christmas, we usually include the star that led the Magi from the East to visit Jesus and His family. The reality is that the star was never a part of the night Jesus was born. Because Herod ordered the death of all little boys under 2 years of age in the Bethlehem area, it is likely that it was close to that time before the star, and the Magi appeared. But there is a star that appeared on the first Christmas. We read about it way back in Numbers 24:17: “I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near. A star will come out of Jacob; a scepter will rise out of Israel. He will crush the foreheads of Moab, the skulls of all the people of Sheth.” The true star of Christmas is Jesus Himself. Balaam, the imperfect prophet who spoke these words, was pointing Israel to the Messiah who would come. He would be the star and sceptre. There is only One who fits those criteria – Jesus Himself. There was nothing accidental about Jesus’ arrival on the first Christmas. He fulfilled millennia of promises.
These have been words from the heart.