What star is this, with beams so bright, more beauteous than the noonday light? It shines to herald forth the King, and Gentiles to his crib to bring. (Hymn 124)
How wonderful that just days before Christmas we can look into the sky and see something that has not been seen on Earth in almost 800 years, the “Christmas star.”
As you probably know, this is not a star at all but the “great conjunction” of our solar system’s two largest planets, Jupiter and Saturn. Although they are hundreds of millions of miles apart, tonight they will appear to be snuggling next to each other as one great blip of light.
Our resident astronomer, Dr. Misty Bentz, says the best time to view this phenomenon is between 6 and 6:30 this evening, looking southwest near the horizon.
It seems providential that the brightness of the Christmas star appears on the night of the winter solstice, the longest night of the year, in what has been one of the darkest years in our lifetime. Of course, we know that the alignment of the stars and planet have nothing to do with human events on earth. But it still gives me comfort to imagine that this particular alignment of the planets at this particular time is a reminder that there are brighter days ahead. It is a wonderful way to begin the week leading up to Christmas.
Attached is the service of Compline for this week.
Here is our Christmas service schedule:
Monday-Wednesday, 8 p.m. — Compline
Thursday, 5 p.m. — Christmas Eve service
Friday, 10 a.m. — Christmas Day service
All, of course, will be online so that we may all be safe.