God knew from the beginning of time that this year, 2020, was going to be hard for everyone. How gracious of him to give us an extra gift this Christmas that we can gaze into the heavens to observe shortly after the sun sets tonight.
As you know, an invisible virus brought the world to a screeching halt as if the earth stopped spinning. But our minds wouldn’t stop spinning trying to understand and grasp how a pandemic is physically taking the breath out of a small fraction of people, and even greater, how this virus has stolen normalcy, face-to-face schools and conversations, jobs, security, hugs, traditions, and sacred disciplines from everyone.
It has caused more than flu-like symptoms or death for some. Every single person that lives and breathes on this earth has directly or indirectly experienced stress, anger, rage, depression, anxiety, hunger, violence, abuse, poverty and even worse. All those negative physical and mental feelings have elevated and intensified. Every single one of us has been stricken by coronavirus-19.
That’s why God scientifically orchestrated a rare and bright view for the ordinary eye to see without a telescope anywhere on this big ball the week of Christmas 2020. The similar alignment of planets Saturn and Jupiter astronomers call a “Great Conjunction”, that took place around 6 BC-4 BC, happens tonight, December 21, 2020 – the first day of winter. (After some research, I learned that around the time Jesus was born, a Grand Conjunction took place when Saturn, Jupiter and Mars overlapped each other).
The sky is complete darkness, which we’ve all probably felt at one time or another the past 9-months. But from the very beginning God said, “Let there be light.” and light was created with the sun, along with moons, and stars as other sources to give us light.
God, being the creative One He is, arranged for planets to overlap to display his compassion for us this year, up to the specific day, when he knew we needed to be reminded of Emmanuel- God with us this Advent season. He knew we’d be in desperate need to hope.
From NASA’s website, I read that,
“The planets (Saturn and Jupiter) regularly appear to pass each other in the solar system, with the positions of Jupiter and Saturn being aligned in the sky about once every 20 years.
What makes this year’s spectacle so rare, then? It’s been nearly 400 years since the planets passed this close to each other in the sky, and nearly 800 years since the alignment of Saturn and Jupiter occurred at night, as it will for 2020, allowing nearly everyone around the world to witness this ‘great conjunction.’”
The origin of the word conjunction comes from Latin where con- means with or together, and -junction means to join. God orchestrated this moment in time when two planets join together during this difficult season, for all people around the world to look up in the same sky, to the same planets, stars, and heavens, to see the same light. The light that the Light of the World created. The same light that the same planets displayed about 2,020 years ago guided magi, also knows as astrologers, or three wise men, to see and worship God-in-flesh as a baby.
What a gift of awe for us this Christmas.
In 2020. At the end of this year none of us probably want to ever repeat.
Jesus, the Son of God, the Light of the world, the Prince of peace, the Giver of hope, gives all of us on this earth the gift of a great conjunction as we raise our faces and eyes to the heavens to gaze and see the evidence of His goodness.
With the thrill of hope, world, let us rejoice.