why do we have stars at christmas
Chizo Obi, Media General - (MEDIA GENERAL) --- Decorating a Christmas tree ahead of the holidays is a family tradition in many households. Memories come to life while unpacking ornaments, streaming lights and hanging tinsel on the tree. Young children vie for the honor to be thrust into the air to nestle an ornament into the tree's crown. PA star or an angel is the most common Christmas tree-topper---but why? Originally,. However, this trend later evolved to a star or an angel, which are both significant Christian symbols in the Nativity of Jesus. The Star of Bethlehem The Star of Bethlehem, also referred to as the 'Christmas Star,' guided the wise men, or Magi, to the birthplace of Jesus in the Christian story of Jesus of Nazareth's birth. The Star of Bethlehem, a five-pointed star, is unique in that it is only referenced in the Gospel of Matthew's nativity story. The star signifies the birth of Christ (or Messiah). Astrology also factored heavily into the Bible. Stars, moons, comets and galaxies were considered heavenly bodies interpreted asPsigns from God. The Angel Gabriel The world 'angel' is derived from the Greek word,P
meaning "messenger. " Angels act as representatives of God and appear in both the Old and New Testament of the Holy Biible, delivering news or foretelling of the future.
The angel Gabriel visited Mary to inform her that she was to give birth to the Son of God. Gabriel is a prominent figure in the Bible, Judaism and Islam. In the nativity story, an angel also appeared to group of shepherds keeping watching their flocks,Pannouncing the birth of Jesus. The Star of Bethlehem then guided themPto the infant. Angels are also viewed as protectors. Using angel tree-toppers, earlyP. The growing popularity of an angel tree-topper traces back to the Victorian Era. In 1848, the Illustrated London News published the drawing " " on it's cover. In it, Queen Victoria, Prince Albert, their children and the queen's mother stood around a Christmas treePwith an angel perched on top. The drawing set the precedent popularizing angel-toppers and Christmas trees in Great Britain and the United States. During the Christmas season, it s hard to go anywhere without seeing stars hanging from street lamps and perched atop Christmas trees. Although the Star of Bethlehem appears just once in the Bible, in the Gospel of Matthew in the New Testament, it has become one of the holiday s most important and enduring symbols. Yet astronomers are still puzzled by whatever might have inspired that aspect of the Christmas story.
As EarthSky. org s Larry Sessions writes, it's clear to modern astronomers that the Star of Bethlehem behaved very oddly, if it existed at all. First of all, Jesus Christ almost certainly wasn t born in December, so looking for its origins in the night sky this time of year isn t the best place to start. Historians have long agreed that Christmas shares roots with, Saturnalia, and that Jesus was most likely born in the spring when shepherds would be tending their flocks, Chicago Tribune. In fact, Christmas only takes place on December 25 because of the Roman Emperor Constantine, who moved the holiday in order to coincide with the shortest night of the year. While the Bible says that the three Magi were led to Jesus birthplace by a star in the sky, Art Maurer, the director of Joliet Junior College s Trackman Planetarium, tells Vickroy that that explanation doesn t quite jibe with the rest of the story. "The Magi came from Persia, which meant they traveled 900 miles west. So they didn't see a star in the east," Maurer tells Vickroy. Some have suggested that the magi might have actually followed a bright meteor, comet or even a supernova, but Space. com, there are several problems with these theories as well.
First, meteors may be strikingly bright, but they burn up in a flash when entering the Earth s atmosphere, meaning the magi would have needed something a bit longer-lasting to chart their travels. A comet is a strong possibility, as Halley s Comet was visible in 11 BC - a few years before when some historians think Jesus may have been born - but ancient astronomers often considered them bad omens, not good ones. And while a supernova would have certainly been a dramatic sight, there is no historical record of a bright nova at that time, Rao reports. There s one other possibility: it could have been a visible planet, like Jupiter. According to Maurer, Jupiter was in retrograde at the time, which means it would have appeared to travel east as it rose in the sky each night. Not only that, but ancient astronomers considered it the king planet, and its appearance in the Leo constellation might have been pretty significant for people who saw meaning in the movements of the stars and planets, Vickroy writes. Historians will never know exactly what inspired the story of the Christmas Star, but like most symbols, the final meaning comes down to you.
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