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Holiday season has special star

When I lived at home my mother had a piece of sheet music titled “Star of the East.”

I really liked the song so I learned how to play the piece. Years later, I found a book of Christmas songs that had that same piece in it. I was overjoyed because now I had my own copy of the song.

This year I think of that beautiful piece as we look forward to “the star” that will be visible on Dec. 21. To think that this phenomenon has not been visible since the 1600s is nothing short of miraculous. This certainly is the year that we need to remember that Christmas is the Savior’s birthday. To say this has been a difficult year is putting things mildly.

We had a highly contested election. We have had a virus that has crippled the country now for more than nine months. Small businesses have suffered so much. One has to wonder if there will be any of them left when all of this is done.

Our governor seems to have taken extraordinary powers. He shut everything down in the spring and it did not stop the spread of the virus. Now he once again has taken the reins to close all businesses once again.

I did notice that he left the closing of churches up to their leadership this time around. I think he took a lot of flack for that decision in the spring. The churches were not open on Easter Sunday. Many of them will also be closed on Christmas. What a year this has been! When you really need spiritual guidance, it is missing. People will have to open their Bibles and read the stories for themselves.

Maybe that is not such a bad thing.

Maybe it will bring a revival of sorts. There is nothing to say that you cannot read your Bible and worship on your own. The Bible says where two or three are gathered, He will be there. Invite Him into your home this season. Follow that star!

In the beginning when Jesus was born it was a star that led the Wise Men to find the Savior. It was probably this same “star” that we are all waiting to see — except at that time three converged to create the Star of the East.

The meeting of Jupiter and Saturn is called the great conjuncture. That is when the two biggest worlds in our solar system come together. Actually, they come together every twenty years but they are not always visible. In 2000 they were not visible because they were so close to the sun. This year they will appear just above the horizon on Dec. 21, 2020. They will be only 0.1 degrees apart.

How will people see them? Atmospheric conditions will play a part in the observation. So will personal vision conditions. A person with poor eyesight may see them as one star, while someone with good vision may see them as two stars. The point is, no one alive today knows how they will look. They can only guess since the last such event was in 1623. I cannot explain this huge gap in time. It will happen sooner than that in the future. My source said it will happen again on March 15, 2080, so most of us will not be around to see it the next time.

The star has long been symbol of Christmas. People place them at the top of their Christmas trees and use them in other decorations.

We make cookies that are shaped like stars. The star is mentioned in numerous carols as well. Maybe after this phenomenon, the star will be an even greater symbol of Christmas.

Try to take time to view this with your family on Dec. 21. Even if the children have to stay up a bit later than usual, it is worthy of your time. It will be visible 45 minutes after sunset. Let’s hope for a clear night so that we can view this. It is a learning experience for all of us. Since this is the only time, we will see it, it is noteworthy and educational.

Merry Christmas to all from my family to yours. May the Lord bless you and keep you and bring a better scenario for 2021.

Ann Swanson writes from her home in Russell. Contact at hickoryheights1@verizon.net.

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