The REAL Star of Bethlehem
Jesus said to me: “Write what you see.”
Homelessness is not something that is understandable until it happens. It is not a Good Thing to have nowhere to go, especially when it was bedtime. At least I had a car, although they would soon be repossessing it. I wasted away the daylight by mall-walking, resting on benches, and just thinking. But when the sun went down, I learned how foolish I had been complaining about not having had a bed. Now, I longed for my unfurnished apartment and my bed-on-the-floor, or for that matter, a plain hardwood floor under a roof.
I drove west on Interstate-64, stopping often at coffee shops along the way. I had no destination, just driving with a full tank of gas and thinking. Out of habit, I headed north when I reached I-65 and crossed the Ohio River. It was late by then, and I was sleepy. I pulled into a rest stop and parked far enough from the other cars to have my privacy, yet near enough for protection against robbers who preyed upon travelers. I tried to get comfortable in the front seat, but I did not have room to stretch out with my possessions filling the car, so I threw my lampshade into the dumpster. When it disappeared over the trash lid and out of sight, I felt as if I’d lost part of my family. I had always taken the lampshade with me wherever I moved. But the car wasn’t big enough for both of us.
Finally, after I had stuffed everything from the front seat into the back, I eased myself down and pulled a blanket over me. But I still could not sleep. It was too cold. Occasionally, I would blast the car heater, but for the most part I left it off to conserve gas. I was jostling under my bedroll when someone startled me with a sharp bang on my side window.
Alarmed, I uncovered myself and sat up. A man in a short sleeve, red-plaid shirt and dark dress slacks stood beside my car. He was not wearing a coat, and his attire looked cold and out of place for a wintry night. I rolled down the window. “Yes?”
“Michael, I’m supposed to tell you: ‘Do not worry.'”
“Huh? Thanks.” I turned to throw the blankets off, to get out of the car. But when I turned around, the man was gone. Vanished.
I jumped out of my car to find him. I stared one way, then another. There was no place he could have gone in such a hurry, yet he was no where to be found. Not a trace of the man. Where had he gone? He couldn’t have just disappeared. How did he know my name?
I stood in the middle of the lot, confused about the vanishing stranger. Then something happened.
A star fell.
Not your average falling star, but one that Divinely “floated” a few hundred feet above the parking lot, over me.
(A star with a brain?) It had four points, cross-shaped. I watched to see if it would move again, but it did not. It stayed put, overhead, very, very low. It was not an aircraft, nor a helicopter, nor a flying saucer. It was a Living Star that knew exactly what it was doing.
And its light shone like a spotlight, illuminating the interstate entrance ramp in front of me. I could not move, in awe of the Living Star. It seemed to be pointing the way for me, a sign indicating I would be spending some time on the highway. I had already known that, but what I had not known up until now, was not to worry about it.
Having seen the Living Star, I understood it would be futile to search for the mysterious messenger I had just encountered. He had come from “up there.”
Finally, a man in the parking lot got out of his car and walked up to me, as I continued to gaze at the ominous Living Star. The man had a scraggly beard, biker clothes, and was definitely from the same world as me. He, too, was in awe of the Living Star. I was glad to know someone else was seeing what I saw. Together, we two strangers watched the Living Star for several moments. All he said was, “Far out.”
After a short silence, the man next to me said, “That’s a sign from God!” At that, the Living Star whisked away. Vanished, in mid-sentence, as if it had been waiting for that acknowledgment. “And I’m not even religious,” the man continued his previous train of thought.
“You know what I think?” I asked.
“That’s the Star of Bethlehem.”
“We can’t ever tell anyone,” he said. “They’ll think we’re crazy.”
It was the end of summer and the beginning of the fall season two thousand years ago. The cherubim who had not fallen from heaven remained the guardians of all things Holy, and they floated over a manger in Bethlehem and the light they emitted was as a spotlight announcing the birth of a miraculous baby.
After the birth of the Holy One, days or weeks or months later, the cherubim were dispatched eastward, probably to Persia, to announce to Kings of the East that the King of the Jews had been born. They should go witness for themselves and to pay homage. There were probably many more than the traditional number of “three” magi, but the number of the Kings from the East was not important. What was important was for them to come bear testimony and to spread the announcement throughout their lands upon returning home.
Tradition has it that the Star of Bethlehem was just a regular, new star that happened to be bright. It was bright enough to make kings hop on their camels and march off into the night sky following it. That is not true for I have seen this “star” on two separate occasions.
The Star of Bethlehem was not a star at all. It was a group of four interlocked cherubim. Each one was about fifteen-feet tall, with four wings and arms under each wing. The lead navigator flew outstretched, flat like we imagine the way Superman flies. Another angel came from behind and used his wings to latch onto the cherubim in front of him, making their length about fifty-to-seventy feet when you account for their long and outstretched wings. A formidable length for a “flying machine.” Each angel locked onto one another with two wings, and wrapped their other two wings around their bodies. An angel on the left locked wings with the lead angel, as did an angel on the right. In all it was as if the four separate angels became one. Together their flying formation was the shape of a four-pointed star. A Cross. In their midst was a glowing ball, that they used as a navigating system of sorts. Some of the navigating balls were orange amber and some were red beryl. Where the ball moved, they moved. It was the navigating ball that moved them. The angels themselves did not move at all.
They could suspend themselves in midair, or go from zero-to-mach speed in the twinkling of an eye in any direction. They were so fast to the human eye that when they moved, they appeared to be a bolt of lightning.
The Cherubim Star of Bethlehem came to the Kings of the East. And their brightness shone down upon them as a spotlight to follow. And they followed the shining cherubim all the way to Jerusalem, and then to Bethlehem. They did not arrive in time of the birth in the manger, but afterwards when Mary and Joseph had settled into a regular house in Bethlehem. It was there, in that house, that the Kings of the East paid homage to the newborn baby, and they went home to proclaim to all their kingdoms that the King of the Jews had been born.