St Michael's,Somerton with Charltons and Kingsdon



Written by Susan Sayers reprinted with permission

(Each day this provides a daily read through December to Christmas Eve, to challenge your thinking, exercise your imagination and awaken you to the privilege of God given life. You'll never look at the manger the same way again.)

12th December - Watch the signs

Diamonds are for ever ....

Diamonds have become a sign if lasting love because they are rocks of our planet that last. Forged deep in the heart of the place we live, they shine with clear beauty and yet they are incredibly tough. We like using signs and symbols - they are like a shorthand way of saying deep and important things. Think of the unending love shown by a wedding ring, or the loyalty showing by wearing the colours of the football team you support. As universe people, created with order in our being, we love to make a sense of things, organising chaos in pattern. So, starting with the Babylonians, particular starscapes visible to us at different stages of our orbit have been imputed particular significance, linked with when we appeared on the scene at our birth. And the position of our family of solar planets in those starscapes has also traditionally been held to signify events in our local planet life. That's because we instinctively understand the truth that we and the stars and planets are linked. That truth, in the wider, cosmic context of our own created expanding universe, is far more reliable than the wild guesswork often churned out and half believed by those wasting their time with horoscopes. We will discern far more of  the deep wisdom of our calling and purpose by spending time instead listening to the whisper of the One who created us all and knows us each by name!  

But what about the time when that star appeared, and then as now, people read it as a sign? How did they read it? Well here's one possibility, suggested by Paul Maier. The great planet Jupiter was know to Babylonians, Greeks and Romans as the King's planet, representing the highest god and ruler of all. And Saturn was thought of as the defender of Palestine. So much for the planets coming together. In 7-6 BC these planets moved together in the starscape known as Pisces  the sign of fishes. Pisces signified dramatic events or crises, and was particularly associated with Palestine and Syria. So now we scan see why the stars watchers were excited enough to go travelling: in the night sky they saw a prophecy about an event of universal significance. A divine, cosmic king was to be born in Palestine, making the fulfillment of all things.

And suppose, when Williams Comet no 53 appeared in 5 BC, heralding dramatic change of some kind as comets were thought to, their earlier excitement was affirmed. And when the comet or supernova know as No 54 exploded with brilliant light in 4 BC when the wise ones had been to Herod, it shone over Bethlehem, directing them to where a baby was born. We do not know for certain what that star or those astronomical  sightings were, but we do know that the wise ones read signs in the sky which they took seriously enough to make them set out on a journey of discovery.

We are journeying too, and the signs we follow may well be a mixture of deep, instinctive attraction to what is read and at the heart of our being, and coincidental nudges we half understand  but sense are important for the rest of our lives, Take courage, space travellers. The journey is disturbing but also full of promise.

THE CHALLENGE - If you regularly read your 'stars', make a conscious decision to stop, and read instead a daily Bible programme such as Daily Light or Daily Bread. Then you will be feeding on real nourishment, for greater spiritual health and vitality. Do a bit of research online and check out Paul Maier's theory to see what you make of it.

THE PRAYER - For the humility to be less certain of our assumptions. and more ready to broaden our outlook and consider possibilities. For God's good and trustworthy guidance in our searching.