Illustration: Yesterday afternoon was beautiful and, as is my custom, I strapped on my backpack, laced up my hiking boots, and headed into the woods and up the hills to hike in order take in as much of nature’s beauty as I could before darkness fell. But it was tonight’s sky that was to be special for a lot of folks. Many took up their cameras, telescopes, and other optical equipment to capture a spectacle in the heavens. Why? Jupiter and Saturn appeared to do a heavenly hug in the firmament. Social media feeds were flooded with pictures people put up of the sight. I saw some people’s pictures that made me fall silent, they were so moving and beautiful. The orbits of Jupiter and Saturn coincided with the winter solstice in the Northern Hemisphere. The sky was as clear last night as I have seen in a long time, too; that added to the power of the whole spectacle.
Scripture: This morning when I was reading, I was reminded of how often the Bible speaks of the heavens:
And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years, and let them be lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light upon the earth.” And it was so. And God made the two great lights—the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night—and the stars. And God set them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth, to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good (Genesis 1:14-18).
That was from Moses’ pen in Genesis. But King David wrote, too, of God’s creating the heavens and superintending them in the Bible’s poetry. Why? So that we would see how the heavens trumpet their Author:
“The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork” (Psalm 19:1).
The temptation is to worship the creation rather than the Creator (Romans 1:25). I saw this last night. People who claim to be atheists found themselves marveling at the precision of the heavenly spectacle. They used scientifically crafted optical equipment to gaze upon a heavenly display of awe-inducing power, and yet they were oblivious to the fact that all of this design heralds the glory of the Designer (God). This is why the Bible reminds us:
“And beware lest you raise your eyes to heaven, and when you see the sun and the moon and the stars, all the host of heaven, you be drawn away and bow down to them and serve them, things that the LORD your God has allotted to all the peoples under the whole heaven” (Deuteronomy 4:19).
Encouragement: As most of us will try to be with our loved ones over the next few days to enjoy Christmas and some holidays, I wonder if we will give thought to this:
“But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons” (Galatians 4:4-5).
The planetary display this week was certainly moving, but it was not as important as the incarnation of God. You see, it was not random that the orbits of Jupiter and Saturn coincided, and that we know with precision when this is slated to happen again.
It was not random that God warned us that we sinners too often want to worship the creation rather than the Creator. It was not random or accidental that Jesus, the second Person of the triune God of the Bible, took on flesh in the incarnation “in the fullness of time,” as Paul wrote in Galatians 4.
No, dear readers, none of it was random or accidental, any more than your cameras, and iPhones, and telescopes were random or accidental. They bespeak of the One about whom the whole creation bears witness: “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end” (Revelation 22:13).