2016 Nativity Forever First Class Postage Stamps
2016 Nativity Forever First Class Postage Stamps
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2016 Nativity Forever First Class Postage Stamps

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The Star of Bethlehem, or Christmas star, is an important part of the story of Jesus’ birth.  In fact, it is often featured in planetariums during the holiday season.  While some believe the star is fictional, Christianity refers to it as a miracle and a sign of Jesus’ birth.  Astronomers and historians have several theories supporting the star’s existence.

Some astronomers believe the Star of Bethlehem was linked to a cosmic event.  Their theories include comets, supernovas, or planetary conjunctions.  Planetary conjunctions occur when two or more planets appear to be very close together when viewed from Earth.  One such conjunction was said to have occurred at the time Jesus was born.  Around 3-2 B.C., Jupiter (the king planet), Regulus (the king star), and Venus (representing love and fertility) were in the sky together.  Because of each object’s symbolism, it is possible the Magi (a word that could be translated as astronomer) interpreted the event as a sign a king had been born. 

According to modern astronomers, such an event would have looked like a “bright beacon of light.”  It is said Jupiter’s path in the sky could explain why the star moved toward Bethlehem and then appeared to stop above the city.  Whether a divine miracle or rare astrological event, the Star of Bethlehem has become an essential part of the Christmas tradition today.